Houston Person is an excellent, underrated tenor saxophonist with a full, rich tone and a knack for well-constructed, tasteful, but never boring solos. That said, he's occasionally guilty of giving the people what they want, releasing smooth and conservative albums that are perfectly enjoyable to listen to, but somewhat beneath what he's capable of. 2000's In a Sentimental Mood is exactly that; this collection of standards features some excellent performances of classic ballads, but it's all so polite that it's hard to see the set as anything more than better-than-average background music. Foregoing his usual organ accompaniment, Person teams up with pianist Stan Hope, standup bassist George Kaye, and drummer Chip White for a classic piano trio-plus-sax lineup, and the song selection is undeniable: you just can't go wrong with tunes like "My Funny Valentine," "All the Things You Are," and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Yet there are so few risks taken on In a Sentimental Mood that one doesn't even have to listen to the album; anyone who knows these songs and Houston Person's characteristic sound already knows what this album sounds like. It sounds terrific, but it's hard not to want more.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason