Houston Person

Chocomotive

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Some jazz improvisers believe that appealing to R&B and pop fans is beneath them, but Houston Person never had that elitist mentality. The big-toned tenor titan was always a communicator; though he has first-rate chops and can easily sail through difficult bop changes, Person doesn't value pyrotechnics over feeling and emotion. Consequently, albums like Chocomotive have managed to reach a lot of R&B and pop fans who don't necessarily buy a lot of jazz. Person was 32 when he recorded this excellent LP, which employs Cedar Walton on piano, Bob Cranshaw on bass, Frankie Jones on drums, and Alan Dawson (who was primarily a drummer) on vibes. No organist is employed, but even without the mighty Hammond B-3, Chocomotive is a fine soul-jazz/hard bop date. True to form, Person is as expressive on ballads (including "You're Gonna Hear From Me" and Neal Hefti's "Girl Talk") as he is on a hard-swinging blues like the title track. And the saxman really pours his heart into a blues-drenched performance of Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You." Person also tackles the Fifth Dimension's corny "Up, Up and Away," but don't snicker -- after he gets through with the tune, it becomes a swinging soul-jazz instrumental. Even if "Up, Up and Away" isn't your favorite Fifth Dimension hit, you have to admire Person's ability to give it an interesting makeover. In 2001, Fantasy reissued five of this LP's seven tracks on a 78-minute CD titled Trust in Me (Prestige 24264), which also contains the Trust in Me LP in its entirety. Due to space limitations, "Girl Talk" and "Up, Up and Away" were omitted from Fantasy's Trust in Me CD. And for that reason alone, collectors who have this LP should hold on to it.

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