Saxophonist Houston Person and bassist Ron Carter have a duo partnership that goes back at least as far as their two 1990 recordings, Something in Common and Now's the Time! Since those albums, the legendary artists have released several more duo collaborations, each one a thoughtful and minimalist production showcasing their masterful command of jazz standards, blues, and bop. The duo's 2016 effort, the aptly titled Chemistry, is no exception and once again finds Person and Carter communing over a well-curated set of jazz standards. As on their previous albums, Chemistry is a deceptively simple conceit; just two jazz journeymen playing conversational duets on well-known jazz songs.
It's hard to know what to think when jazz artists record popular songs. Are they recording them because they like the songs and think something new can be brought to them? Or are they hoping that by recording popular songs they too can become popular? Broken Windows, Empty Hallways includes two albums recorded by tenor Houston Person in 1972, the first of the same name and the second titled Sweet Buns & Barbeque. Both albums contain a number of songs that were popular at the time, from the soulful "Don't Mess With Bill" to John Lennon's "Imagine" to Webber-Rice's "Everything's Alright."
Houston Person really sounds great in this later date for Muse Records – definitely the older lion in the title, surrounded by a younger pride of players who really make the record swing! The set's got a rock-solid rhythm section with Benny Green on piano, Christian McBride on bass, and Winard Harper on drums – that kind of in the pocket combo that was often the driving force of a Person-produced Muse Records session like this. Philip Harper's also in the frontline on trumpet, sparkling nicely next to the tenor – and the tunes have a relatively laidback feel, and a rich sound that hardly shows the date of the record at all. Titles include "Dig", "Dear Heart", "Sweet Love", "Like Someone In Love", and "Captain Hook".
Let's not mince words. Everything you want from a great jazz trio recording -electricity, pacing, innovation, dynamic virtuosity and interplay, flights of fancy and passion -are found in great abundance on Emmet Cohen's newest Master Legacy Series Volume 2.
This 1961 set has appeared under Eric Dolphy's name, but it is, in fact, bassist Ron Carter's date - his first as a leader. Carter and Dolphy had played together in Chico Hamilton's group and on Dolphy's important 1960 date Out There. Where? has elements in common with both, but is closer to Hamilton's late-'50s chamber jazz than to the more outward-bound Dolphy date. As on the Dolphy session, Carter is heard on cello for three of the six tracks. Carter's skill is undeniable, but his playing on Where? is a bit polite and monochromatic. The easygoing duet with George Duvivier, for example, is a quiet, back-porch conversation that makes few demands on either of these bass giants…