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Houston Person & Ron Carter: Remember Love

Jack Bowers By

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Saxophonist Houston Person and bassist Ron Carter, now in their eighties, have been performing and recording as a duo for almost three decades now (Remember Love marks their seventh album in that format since Something in Common was released on Muse in 1990).

Remember Love was recorded in March 2018 at the renowned Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Englewood, New Jersey, which has a number of good points (clarity is a given) and others that some observers may deem less rewarding. Perhaps unavoidable is the fact that as Carter's bass represents the entire "band" (aside from Person), every note that emanates therefrom is not only crystal clear but harsh and reverberant to a fault. A treat for lovers of the bass, no doubt, but one that can be more troublesome for those who prefer that the upright keep time while remaining by and large subordinate to (and eclipsed by) other more melodious instruments.

Person's tenor, meanwhile, is similarly amplified to the point at which the heedful listener may note his breathing from time to time between phrases. Not a bad thing in itself but clearly an indication of how closely Person (and Carter) were mic'ed. That was their call, of course, albeit one that may not suit every listener's taste, as it rests in large measure upon one's fondness for the unescorted and intractably recorded tenor saxophone and bass. The upside here is that Person and Carter are seasoned pros who strike no false notes and whose interactions, if not telepathic, are complaisant enough to ensure a high level of comfort and rapport.

As for the music, it consists of a trio of well-known themes from the Great American Songbook enfolding one charming original each by Person ("Why Not") and Carter ("Blues for D.P.," dedicated to the late Duke Pearson), Duke Ellington / Billy Strayhorn's "Day Dream," Guy Wood's "My One and Only Love," Luiz Bonfa's "Gentle Rain" and the traditional folk anthem "You Are My Sunshine" (performed alone by Carter, as is the finale, Vincent Youmans' "Without a Song," by Person). The Gershwin brothers are represented by "Our Love Is Here to Stay," Jerome Kern / Dorothy Fields by "The Way You Look Tonight," Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart by "It's Easy to Remember." The mood throughout is cool and mellow, which is what Person and Carter do best. If you must revisit these explicitly warm and popular themes, you couldn't choose more amiable companions with whom to undertake the journey.

Track Listing: Our Love Is Here to Stay; My One and Only Love; Why Not; Day Dream; Gentle Rain; The Way You Look Tonight; You Are My Sunshine; Blues for D.P.; Easy to Remember; Without a Song.

Personnel: Houston Person: tenor saxophone; Ron Carter: bass.

Title: Remember Love | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: HighNote Records

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