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".
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.
"As full-bodied and comforting as home-baked apple pie" is one apt description of Houston Person's saxophone sound. Inasmuch as this simile attempts to convey the comforting, warm-hearted and accomplished nature of the tenorman's art, it is spot-on, but it must be remembered that Person's roots are in organ-centred R&B. So in addition to a velvety ballad technique Person also possesses an ability to imbue up-tempo material with an irresistible wailing intensity, so his crowd-pleasing bluesy numbers provide welcome variety to this judiciously balanced set.
Houston Person (born November 10, 1934) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist and record producer. Although he has performed in the hard bop and swing genres, he is most experienced in and best known for his work in soul jazz. Person is also known for his distinctive sassy sound and his expressive style of playing. He received the Eubie Blake Jazz Award in 1982.