Mark 29 and 30 July in your diaries... they make for a couple of chances to catch one of the most swinging soulfully bluesy jazz saxophone masters in the ideal circumstances of a small jazz club situation.
Now in his eighties Houston Person has more than 75 albums under his own name on Prestige, Westbound, Mercury, Savoy, Muse, and is currently with High Note Records. He has recorded with Charles Brown, Charles Earland, Lena Horne, Etta Jones, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver, Dakota Staton, and many more.
His latest record is I’m Just a Lucky So and So, from which his version of ‘Willow Weep For Me’ can be heard above. I am shutting my eyes and recalling the Dexter Gordon version on Our Man in Paris and this stands up big time with to my mind the best version of the standard. The record is released on High Note at the end of this month. Hear HP with his organ trio at Pizza Express Jazz Club, London. One to relish! You only really learn deep down as a player and/or as a listener by hearing and experiencing the masters live. Tickets.
Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian, When Will the Blues Leave, ECM ****
A delicious hitherto unreleased Swiss recording from 1999 named after an Ornette Coleman tune that Paul Bley had been playing since the Hillcrest days it is worth noting how different sounding this trio comes across when compared with today’s typical piano trio. This has far more of a fractured and abstract sense than most piano trios today who tend to be more rock or electronica-influenced and who often tend to lean towards a sweeter sense of melody. Bley, Peacock and Motian are never far away from bebop and yet there is nothing dated about their performance or approach here: Bley elegiac and hugely modernistic in his solos, Motian a scampering, engaged, presence leaving it to Peacock to find hidden spaces to draw out and angle the trio in a new direction as each tune develops.
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