Houston Person

The Truth!

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Released in 1999 for Fantasy's Legends of Acid Jazz series, this CD unites two of Houston Person's classic Prestige sessions, 1968's Soul Dance and 1970s Truth!, on a single 78-minute CD. Soul Dance is heard in its entirety, but because the CD didn't have enough room to hold everything from Truth!, the track "If I Ruled the World" ended up being sacrificed. The personnel on the sessions differs -- while Soul Dance employed organist Billy Gardner, guitarist Boogaloo Joe Jones, and drummer Frankie Jones, Truth! united Person with Frankie Jones, guitarist Billy Butler, electric bassist Bob Bushnell, and percussionist Buddy Caldwell. But the albums are fairly similar in their outlook. Both of them are quite accessible, and both emphasize Person's strong points: funky boogaloos, gritty blues, standards, and sentimental ballads. The tenor titan plays soulfully and authoritatively on material that ranges from "What A Diff'rence a Day Made" and "Here's That Rainy Day" to Horace Parlan's "Wadin," Sonny Rollins' "Blue 7," the Meters' "Cissy Strut" and the Ruth Brown hit "Teardrops from My Eyes." When these albums first came out, they received their share of negative reviews from jazz critics, who had little use for those who set out to fuse hard bop with soul and funk. But the fact remains: much of the music that Person recorded for Prestige was exciting and quite rewarding. Those who like their jazz with a heavy dose of R&B will find a lot to admire on this CD.

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