Friday, 28 August 2009

Houston Person ”The Opening Round”

Houston Person

The Opening Round
The Groove Masters Series, Vol.1
( Savant Records, 1997 )
Catalog # 633842

1. Sweet Sucker
2. Let’s Stay Together
3. Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man
4. What’s Going On?
5. When a Man Loves a Woman
6. Blue Spring
7. Song For a Rainbow
8. Shenandoah

Producer: Houston Person
Houston Person (tenor saxophone);
Rodney Jones (guitar);
Joey DeFrancesco (Hammond b-3 organ);
Tracy Wormworth (electric bass);
Bernard Purdie (drums)
Release Date: Jul 01, 1997

A fun and personable mix of jazz and soul classics plus a couple of originals by guitarist Rodney Jones, Houston Person’s The Opening Round: Groove Masters Series, Vol. 1 isn’t a jazz album for the ages, but it’s start-to-finish entertaining. It’s a straight-up groove album, with Person in front of a four-piece organ combo anchored by the legendary Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums next to ex-Waitresses-bassist-turned-session-star Tracy Wormworth. Joey DeFrancesco, a disciple of the late Jimmy McGriff, adds funky Hammond B-3 throughout, and the song selection seems to have been chosen specifically to highlight his interplay with Person. Heavy on the ’70s soul classics, it features effective though hardly groundbreaking takes on classics like “What’s Going On,” “Let’s Stay Together,” and “When a Man Loves a Woman,” staying close to the original melody lines but thankfully not replicating the original vocal parts on sax the way that so many smooth jazz lamers do.
Moving back a bit, Person essays both the Showboat standard “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” and, surprisingly, the old folk tune “Shenandoah,” which he and the group transform into a bittersweet, elegiac theme.
By Stewart Mason (AMG)

By Pier

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