Etta Jones / Houston Person

The Way We Were

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Etta Jones could flat-out sing, and she never failed to make the blues, jazz, and Great American Songbook standards she sang her own, especially in her many collaborations with tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who was as sympathetic a player as any singer could ever hope for -- Jones and Person simply clicked and understood each other as a duo. This joyous set was recorded live April 15, 2000 (a little more than a year away from Jones’ death in the fall of 2001) at the Tri-C Jazz Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, and features Jones and Person with the help of pianist Stan Hope, bassist George Kaye, and drummer Chip White. Jones sings with vitality and poise, transforming Gershwin's “Oh, Lady Be Good” from a jazz standard into a flowing blues, making old chestnuts like “What a Wonderful World” and “Don’t Go to Strangers” shine anew with a poignant wisdom. This set is both a pleasant listen and a fun archival recording -- it captures Jones and Person at their best in front of a nimble and flexible rhythm section.

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