Houston Person

Naturally

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Houston Person has never been flashy or particularly innovative on the tenor saxophone, following the Ben Webster/Gene Ammons/Illinois Jacquet school of accessible bop jazz rather than the John Coltrane/Sonny Rollins school of reaching for the creative horizon. He's recorded over 75 albums and played all over the globe as a bandleader and with the likes of Etta James, Horace Silver, Lou Rawls, Lena Horne, Charles Brown, and many others, and whether he's doing soul-jazz, disco, R&B, or gospel, he's always had this easygoing, big-sounding sax tone that embraces and envelops rather than challenges listeners. This set, recorded in July of 2012 at the famed Van Gelder Recording Studio, finds Person assembling a jazz supergroup of sorts with the great Cedar Walton on piano, Ray Drummond on bass, and Lewis Nash on drums, and together they make a joyous, smooth, and open sound that feels comfortable, warm, and, well, natural. Highlights include the opener, Milt Jackson's "Bag's Groove," Jacquet's "Don' Cha Go 'Way Mad," and Johnny Hodges and Duke Ellington's "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream," although everything here fits into the same sort of groove quilt that Person has been doing like no one else for years now. He's simply an American treasure.

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