Houston Person Organ Trio

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Last Show: Tuesday 30 th July 2019

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

At the age of 84, Houston Person is one of the great veterans of the tenor sax, continuing that long line of sax players of striking and intense sound dating back to Gene Ammons. He successfully swept through the era of swing and later through hard bop, to finally become one of the major exponents of soul jazz. He has recorded 75 albums in his own name, as well as others recorded in collaboration with Don Ellis, Cedar Walton, Etta Jones, Lena Horne, Horace Silver and other magnificent performers.

He grew up in Florence, S.C., studied at the state college there, was later named to the school’s Hall of Fame in 1999, and continued his studies at Hartt College of Music in Hartford, CT. Earlier, in the U.S. Air Force, he played with Don Ellis, Eddie Harris, Cedar Walton, and Leo Wright. Contrary to popular belief, he was never married to the late singer Etta Jones, but did spend many years as her musical partner, recording, performing and touring.

Although he has performed in the hard bop and swing genres, he is most experienced in and best known for his work in soul Jazz. Person is also known for his distinctive sassy sound and his expressive style of playing. He received the Eubie Blake Jazz Award in 1982.

He has more than 75 albums under his own name on Prestige, Westbound, Mercury, Savoy, Muse, and is currently with High Note Records. He has recorded with Charles Brown, Charles Earland, Lena Horne, Etta Jones, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver, Dakota Staton, and more.

Houston has deffine ideas about Jazz: “Well, it’s uplifting and important. And a release and a relief. That’s what it is, Jazz, so called Jazz, to me. It’s important that it’s relaxing. Something that when the end of the day comes, after a hard and frustrating day out in the world, that relieves you. Relaxes you and makes you feel good.” Person adds that all he wants is to give people “good solid melodies with some improvisation and plenty of blues feel.” He smiles, “You always want that dance feeling there, that happy, happy feeling.”

Band Lineup

Houston S. Person (tenor sax)

Benjamin Paterson (organ)

Willie E. Jones III (drums)

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