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Houston Person: Something Personal

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Something Personal is a typical offering from veteran tenor saxophonist Houston Person: warm ballads, an R&B cooker, a couple of standards with a bossa-nova beat and a couple of soulful swingers. Person has a personal (pun intended, as noted in Willard Jenkins’ liner notes) way of delivering each melody, almost like a singer (again noted by Jenkins). Often he employs a breathy attack and short sighing phrases followed by more declamatory and multi-noted phrases tinged with the blues. On ballads such as “The Second Time Around,” “Crazy He Calls Me,” “I Remember Clifford” and the title track, he creates an intimate, cozy atmosphere in keeping with the mood of the songs. On swingers such as “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “I’m Afraid the Masquerade Is Over,” his phrasing becomes more pronounced and overtly soulful. All this is to say that Person is a delightfully expressive player. “Teardrops From My Eyes,” the sole R&B performance here, is further proof, as Person and company create a groove that could keep you dancing all night.

Speaking of company, Person’s accompanists include familiar cohorts such as vibraphonist Steve Nelson, guitarist James Chirillo, pianist John di Martino, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Lewis Nash. Nelson’s well-paced solos are an atmospheric contrast to Person’s soulful sound. Chirillo, who plays on four cuts, is mostly employed in a rhythm-section capacity. Di Martino digs in solidly on a solo on “Teardrops… .” Nash delvers a crisp, grooving solo on “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” and Drummond solos with a fat tone and a percussive attack on “I Remember Clifford.” All around, this is another good one from the ever-dependable Person.

Originally Published