Houston Person/Bill Charlap You Taught My Heart To Sing HighNote 2006
Black Talk! is a now-classic, funky 1969 session with Charles Earland as top man at the organ. A hit when it was originally released, Earland's driving percussive style here is quintessential organ-based soul jazz. Among his sidemen is the redoubtable Houston Person, whose tenor sax proved to be such a sympathetic hand in glove for years to the late, great Etta Jones' vocalizing. Never merely showy, Person's beautiful sound is always at the service of the music.
The title tune is Earland's own re-working of the Beatles tune "Eleanor Rigby . Virgil Jones (trumpet) and Person both get in some especially throbbing licks but this is really Earland's show and his organ provides the piece's compelling heartbeat. Another Earland tune included here, "The Mighty Burner , is how he became known to his admirers. That this music is easily recognizable as being from a certain historical period does not in any way lessen how vibrant and irresistible it remains. Even an improbable piece like "Aquarius , from the then-hit rock musical Hair, is an opportunity for Earland & Co. to get their groove on.
Blessings on whoever thought of pairing Person with Bill Charlap. Though there's no vocalizing on this set, both have such a thorough appreciation of the American Songbook that they seem to be singing the lyrics through their sensitive instrumentals. Case in point is Sammy Cahn and McCoy Tyner's "You Taught My Heart To Sing . Charlap's lengthy musing of the first chorus is both spare and romantic. When he's joined by Person's leisurely warmth, it's a musical setting that suggests holding hands, starlit nights and that kinda thing.
Person's own "Don't Forget About The Blues offers a playful shift in mood. Along with their profound understanding of the music, these guys specialize in using only the notes they need. And not a single one more. As with those two much loved sets of Bill Evans and Tony Bennett, the living here is way easy and the conversation is just grand.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: Black Talk; The Mighty Burner; Here Comes Charlies; Aquarius; More Today Than Yesterday.
Tracks: You Taught My Heart To Sing; Namely You; Where Are You; Sweet Lorraine; If I Ruled The World; S'Wonderful; Where Is Love; I Was Telling Her About You; Don't Forget The Blues; I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone.
Personnel: Houston Person: tenor saxophone; Bill Charlap: piano.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.