Houston Person

Trust in Me

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Houston Person is generally considered a soul-jazz specialist whose tenor playing can be counted on to elevate a standard organ combo or groove-based session into something memorable. This set, however, demonstrates Person's reach well beyond funk and blues grooves. The CD, combining the 1967 dates Chocomotive and Trust in Me, reveals a multi-faceted player who has grasped the lessons of tenor greats from Coleman Hawkins to Gene Ammons to Sonny Rollins. This explains why when Person sits down with a Johnny Hammond, Eddie Harris, or Charles Earland he has a whole lot more in his bag than blues licks and an assertive tone. Pianist Cedar Walton is a major presence on both sets, providing a powerful, personal approach that falls somewhere between Horace Silver's sublime earthiness and Thelonious Monk's knotty logic. Veteran hard boppers Bob Cranshaw and Paul Chambers share the bass spot. The drummers are lesser-knowns Lenny McBrowne and Frankie Jones. Drummer's drummer Alan Dawson is on the Chocomotive tracks in a rare but effective turn at the vibes. Space limitations mean that "Girl Talk" and "Up, Up and Away" from the original Chocomotive are not on the compilation. On the other hand, the bonus track, a brief outing on Sonny Rollins' "Airegin," serves as a prime example of Person's abilities in a probing, straight-ahead setting. A couple of tracks veer towards a blowsy lounge style, but even on "More" (a song that has not stood the test of time) Person -- with effective work from Walton, Dawson, and Cranshaw -- steers the performance to a swinging place that transcends the tune's inherent cheesiness.

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