Houston Person: Social Call (2003)
Houston Person is the kind of player who sounds a little bit like a lot of people, but in the end most like himself. His tone can be burly and robust, but warm and romantic above all. His tune selection demonstrates impeccable taste and a commitment to the time before people changed the rules. Social Call is the kind of CD that you hear on a good jazz station where the deep-voiced DJs credit each musician in admiration – and here, guitarist Paul Bollenback, pianist Stan Hope, bassist Per-Ola Gadd, and drummer Chip White bring skill and a sense of refinement to each number.
On "Juicy Lucy" and "Stolen Sweets," Person's R&B-inflected honking threatens to betray the overriding spirit of ease before Bollenback enters with his especially precise and economical solos. Lending contrast and accent to Person's lines, the guitarist is almost a co-leader at times, making the most interesting statements and never failing to swing. On "Evening Star," White's softly-brushed kit shimmers. Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now" is lovely and lilting, while "The End of a Love Affair," in contrast to its title, is light-hearted and jaunty. "Bewitched," by Rodgers and Hart, is taken at the slowest pace, and Person wrenches as much emotion as possible from his notes in a breathy, full-bodied style, while giving the first and last words to Hope's elegant, wistful piano. On Billy Strayhorn's "Day Dream," Person is at his most lush, with Gadd lending support with a heartfelt bass solo.
Sterlingly recorded at Van Gelder Recording Studio by the master himself, Social Call is the mellow sound of the music as it used to be done. Even those who are indifferent to jazz, or even dislike jazz, can't help but enjoy this.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. Social Call (Gryce) - 5:27 2. If You Could See Me Now (Dameron/Sigman) - 5:44 3. Juicy Lucy (Silver) - 5:54 4. Evening Star (Carter) - 5:02 5. The End of a Love Affair (Redding) - 5:13 6. Bewitched (Hart/Rodgers) - 4:40 7. I'll Let You Know (Walton) - 4:49 8. Stolen Sweets (Davis/Thompson) - 5:11 9. Day Dream (Ellington/Latouche/Strayhorn) - 5:03 10. Easy Walker (Lastion) - 4:50 11. Some Other Spring (Herzog) - 4:42
Personnel: Houston Person - tenor sax; Stan Hope - piano; Paul Bollenback - guitar; Chip White - drums; Per Ola Gadd - bass.