Houston Person: Moment to Moment (2010)
The tenor and trumpet front line in the opener, "Bleeker Street," would be at home on an old Donald Byrd or Tina Brooks record, with perhaps a bit more brio than has been heard on recent Person sets, as trumpeter Terell Stafford lends a welcome foil to Person's big, mellow sound.
Those expecting a deeply relaxed, background-music affair may be in for a mild surprise. Person hasn't suddenly become a hyper-aggressive free-jazz screamer, but the disc opens at a quick pace and returns to it periodically throughout. On the very blue "I Cover the Waterfront," Stafford blows with a deep, burnished, warmth through the middle of his horn's range, an effort that emphasizes the tonal colors of his instrument, and the melancholy of the tune. While the inclusion of a more recent pop tune, Billy Joel's, "Just the Way You Are," might seem like one of those odd, sometimes controversial genre-bending selections evocative of "Lite-FM" sentimentalism, it ultimately adds a little bounce to the middle of the record, bringing the tempo back up to speed.
Of course, no Person disc would be complete without a heavy dose of ballads and blues, and Moment to Moment does not break a good streak. "Back in New Orleans" delivers a strong measure of Crescent City, and "Love Won't Let Me Wait," is a classic ballad that sounds like it was written to showcase that Person's creamy tenor sound.
Moment to Moment has everything to be expected in a Houston Person album, then adding a little bit more, making it another fine entry in Person's string of excellent HighNote releases.
Track Listing: Bleeker Street; I Cover the Waterfront; Moment to Moment; Freight Dance; Don't Take Your Love From Me; E Nada Mais; Just the Way You Are; Back in New Orleans; All My Life; Love Won't Let Me Wait; Nina Never Knew.
Personnel: Houston Person: tenor saxophone; Terell Stafford: trumpet; John Di Martino: piano; Randy Johnston: guitar (1, 5-8, 10, 11); Ray Drummond: bass; Willie Jones III: drums.
Record Label: HighNote Records