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.
Tenor saxophonist Houston Person teams up with pianist Bill Charlap on this ten-track collection of standards, You Taught My Heart to Sing. Both musicians have released individual albums paying homage to the great songwriters of the '30s and '40s – George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin – but this is the first time they teamed up in the studio together. Along with such tried and true chestnuts as "S'Wonderful," "Sweet Lorraine," and "Namely You," the duo brings a few originals into the musical fold as well as contemporary romantic standards such as "Where Is the Love." Recorded in the cozy confines of Rudy Van Gelder's studio in Englewood, NJ, the mood is relaxed yet not moribund, nor does the duo succumb to adding weepy strings or sappy horn arrangements. Person and Charlap don't break any new ground with this recording; rather they continue to showcase their combined enduring passion for ballads.
Pastels is an album by bassist Ron Carter recorded at Fantasy Studios in California in 1976 and released on the Milestone label. Some tremendous playing by Carter, Kenny Barron (piano), and Hugh McCracken (guitarrs), though the strings get intrusive.
Bassist Ron Carter varies the personnel often enough to keep one's interest throughout this CD. Carter, who contributed six of the ten compositions (which alternate with four familiar standards) takes his share of bass solos but also showcases pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba (who is pretty restrained throughout) on the opening "Mr. Bow-Tie" and allocates a generous amount of solo space on some selections to trumpeter Edwin Russell (inspired by Miles Davis but possessing his own fire) and Javon Jackson, who often sounds like a close relative of Joe Henderson.
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."
This Is Jazz represents the third collaboration for the Harrison/Carter/Cobham trio. Heroes (2004) and New York Cool: Live At The Blue Note (2005) were acclaimed releases, and established a chemistry among these veterans. Their first encounter was on 2002’s Art Of Four.