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.
Jonny Mansfield, Elftet, Edition ***1/2
There is so much to like here, the arranging certainly, the bags of optimism for sure, huge talent, and sheer creativity are there in great abundance. However, I think it is fair to say that Elftet does not all quite hang together as an album, a whole crowd of ideas maybe needing a bit more space and some canny pruning back.
Award winning vibist Jonny Mansfield however manages to inject a little heat into the chamber jazz-like settings and certainly in the way the horns respond (having a guest like Chris Potter on one track does no harm either) lifts the album to new heights.
As proof that Mansfield is a name for the future Elftet certainly succeeds. But I bet his next album will have a good deal more clarity and not be so intent on packing everything including the kitchen sink in. Caveat aside for now: sit back and prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of a listen. SG. Out now. Full personnel: Ella Hohnen-Ford - Vocals & Flute; James Davison - Trumpet & Flugel; Tom Smith - Alto, Tenor Sax & Flute; George Millard - Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet & Flute; Rory Ingham - Trombone; Dominic Ingham - Violin; Laura Armstrong - Cello; Oliver Mason - Guitar; Jonny Mansfield - Vibraphone & Composition; Will Harris - Double Bass & Electric Bass; Boz Martin-Jones - Drums. Guests; Chris Potter - Tenor Sax (track 2); Gareth Lockrane - Flute (track 4); Kit Downes - Hammond Organ (track 9).
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