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Houston Person with Ron Carter: Dialogues

This would make a terrific play-along disc for pianists and drummers, not that listeners, with the possible exception of pianists and drummers, will miss other instruments. Tenor saxophonist Houston Person and bassist Ron Carter are alone together in their tonal roundness and relaxed exposition of rhythm and melody. Yes, relaxation is a chief characteristic of the collaboration, but with Carter in charge of the time department, there is no doubt where “one” is or, for that matter, “two,” “three” and “four.” Beginning with “Doxy” and ending with “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” the two make a great deal of the duo possibilities of eight standards and “Mr. Bow Tie,” a staple from Carter’s collection of original compositions.

Person’s tone, in its size, softness and intimacy, caresses melodic lines whether at the stately pace of “I Remember Clifford,” the even slower “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” the medium walk of “On the Sunny Side of the Street” or the relatively rapid tempo of “Dear Old Stockholm.” Still, for all of his deceptive ease, Person rips off stunning passages of 16th notes. On “Stockholm,” he and Carter have fun with variations on the intervals that Gil Evans created for Miles Davis’ celebrated version of the traditional Swedish song. Carter solos on every piece, now and then breaking out double stops and other tricks of the bassist’s trade. On “Mack the Knife,” he and Person trade phrases to great effect. But it is when he is playing perfect complementary notes and laying the time down behind Person that Carter is at his best.

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