Houston Person, “The Song Is Ended” (2014): Something Else! sneak peek

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The outsized soul-jazz of Houston Person, at its best, could remind you of an R&B version of Ike Quebec. Forceful and ever-energetic, he gave no ground into the 1970s, even as rock’s influence seeped into so much of jazz’s foundation — and he’s returned essentially unchanged on “The Song Is Ended,” if a little less prone to gail-force playing.

In truth, Person has been moving in this direction since at least 1990’s Why Not!, but his pairing on the forthcoming The Melody Lingers On with vibraphonist Steve Nelson only adds to the sense of reflective cool surrounding this song.

If he might have simply turned “The Song Is Ended” into a boiling-over blowing session in his heyday on Prestige, here Houston Person is simply the epitome of the elder statesman — possessing every trick in the book, but smart enough to let a few inventive asides hint at his greater genius.

The Melody Lingers On finds Person joined as well by long-time collaborators Ray Drummond and Lewis Nash, on bass and drums respectively, along with pianist Lafayette Harris. The album is rounded out by a varied group of standards, including “My Funny Valentine” and “They All Laughed,” among others. It’s due October 20, 2014 via HighNote Records.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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