Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Houston Person Discography

…Cuz I really haven't seen a very good one anywhere.

There must be very few musicians as frequently recorded as Houston Person (b. 1934) who are as misunderstood, maligned or just plain ignored. The jazz crowd thinks he's just a funkster. And the funk lovers write him off as a balladeer or standards-bearer.

Of course, he's all this and more. He's also an accomplished be-bopper, one heck of a bluesmith, a passionate gospel player, a sensitive accompanist, a thoughtful improviser and in addition to being quite the talent scout and seasoned producer, he's really turned into a first-rate ballads player.

He's always maintained his own sound (right out of the Book of Jug) but he's never really had the audience he's deserved. I've noted the players here to show just the sort of talent Houston Person attracts - again and again:

- Underground Soul! (Prestige, 1966 - not on CD): Mark Levine, Charles Boston, Frankie Jones.
- Chocomotive (Prestige, 1967 - all tracks except "Up, Up and Away" and "Girl Talk" on CD as part of Trust In Me): Virgil Jones, Cedar Walton, Bob Cranshaw, Alan Dawson.
- Trust In Me (Prestige, 1967 - on CD as part of Trust In Me)" Cedar Walton, Paul Chambers, Lennie McBrowne, Ralph Dorsey.
- Blue Odyssey (Prestige, 1968): Curtis Fuller, Pepper Adams, Cedar Walton, Bob Cranshaw, Frankie Jones.
- Soul Dance! (Prestige, 1968 - on CD as part of Truth!): Billy Gardner, Boogaloo Joe Jones, Frankie Jones.

- Goodness! (Prestige, 1969): Sonny Phillips, Billy Butler, Bob Bushnell, Frankie Jones, Buddy Caldwell.
- Truth! (Prestige, 1970 - all tracks except "If I Ruled The World" on CD as part of Truth!): Sonny Phillips, Billy Butler, Bob Bushnell, Frankie Jones, Buddy Caldwell.
- Person to Person! (Prestige, 1970 - on CD as part of Legends of Acid Jazz - Houston Person): Virgil Jones, Sonny Phillips, Grant Green, Jimmy Lewis, Idris Muhammad, Buddy Caldwell.
- Houston Express (Prestige, 1971 - on CD as part of Legends of Acid Jazz - Houston Person): Jimmy Watson, Paul Griffin, Billy Butler, Jerry Jemmott, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Buddy Caldwell with horns arranged by Horace Ott and Cecil Bridgewater, Arthur "Babe" Clarke, Ernie Hayes, Jimmy Watson, Billy Butler, Jerry Jemmott, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Buddy Caldwell.
- Island Episode (Prestige, includes "Nemo" from 1971 Houston Express sessions plus eight tracks from 1973 session, issued in 1997): Cecil Bridgewater, Arthur "Babe" Clarke, Ernie Hayes, Jimmy Watson, Billy Butler, Jerry Jemmott, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Buddy Caldwell and Victor Paz, Hank Jones, Jimmy Ponder, Andy Gonzalez, Jerry Gonzalez, Nicky Marrero.

- Broken Windows, Empty Hallways (Prestige, 1972 - on CD as part of Broken Windows, Empty Hallways): Cedar Walton, Ernie Hayes, Jimmy Watson, Grady Tate with horns arranged by Billy VerPlanck.
- Sweet Buns & Barbeque (Prestige, 1972 - on CD as part of Broken Windows, Empty Hallways): Richard Tee, Jimmy Watson, Joe Beck, Hugh McCracken, Ron Carter, George Duvivier, Grady Tate, Buddy Caldwell and horns arranged by Billy VerPlanck.
- The Real Thing (Eastbound, 1973 - six tracks including "Kittitian Carnival" on CD as part of Personality): Marcus Belgrave, Donald Townes, Eli Fountain, Wild Bill Moore, Jack McDuff, Sonny Phillips, Jimmy Watson, Grant Green, Robert Lowe, James Jamerson Sr., Idris Muhammad, Hank Brown, Buddy Caldwell, Etta Jones and Spanky Wilson.
- Houston Person '75 (Westbound, 1974 - six tracks on CD as part of Personality) unknown musicians including Etta Jones arranged by Eddie Nuccilli and Jimmy Roach.
- Get Out'a My Way! (Westbound, 1975 - not on CD): unknown musicians including Sonny Phillips arranged by Jimmy Roach.

- Stolen Sweets (Muse, 1976 - not on CD): Sonny Phillips, Jimmy Ponder, Frankie Jones, Buddy Caldwell.
- The Big Horn (Muse, 1976 - issued in 1979, not on CD): Cedar Walton, Buster Williams, Grady Tate, Buddy Caldwell.
- Pure Pleasure (Mercury, 1976 - not on CD): Cecil Bridgewater, Bruce Nazarian, Pail Griffin, Bob Babbitt, Alan Schwartzberg and Lawrence Killian with horns, strings and voices arranged by Jimmy Roach.
- Harmony (Mercury, 1977 - not on CD): Jon Faddis, Arthur "Babe" Clarke, Paul Griffin, Horace Ott, John Tropea, Jerry Friedman, Wilbur "Dud" Bascomb, Lawrence Killian, George Devens, Henry Gibson and orchestra arranged by Horace Ott. - Wildflower (Muse, 1977 - issued on CD as part of Lost & Found): Bill Hardman, Sonny Phillips, Jimmy Ponder, Idris Muhammad, Lawrence Killian.

- The Nearness of You (Muse, 1977 - not on CD): Virgil Jones, Sonny Phillips, Charles Earland, Melvin Sparks, Mervin Bronson, Grady Tate, Lawrence Killian, Etta Jones.
- The Gospel Soul of Houston Person (Savoy, 1978 - not on CD): The Ogletree Brothers and The Atlanta Philharmonic Chorale, arranged by Horace Ott.
- Suspicions (Muse, 1980 - not on CD): Virgil Jones, Ernie Hayes, Sonny Phillips, Horace Ott, Jack Cavari, Melvin Sparks, Wilbur "Dud" Bascomb, Idris Muhammad, Ralph Dorsey.
- Very Personal (Muse, 1980 - not on CD): Virgil Jones, Cedar Walton, Buster Williams, Vernell Fournier.
- Don't Misunderstand - Live In New York with Etta Jones (HighNote, 1980 - issued in 2007): Sonny Phillips, Frankie Jones.
- Heavy Juice (Muse, 1982 - not on CD): David Braham, Jon Logan, Melvin Sparks, Wilbur "Dud" Bascomb, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Billy James, Ralph Dorsey.

- Suffield Gothic - with Ran Blake (Soul Note, 1984)
- Road Warriors with Les McCann (Greenestreet/CTI, 1984 - not on CD): Bobby Bryant, Lou Volpe, Gary King, Buddy Williams, Richard Malcolm, musical director Peter Drake.
- Creation with Roger Kellaway (Greenestreet/CTI, 1984 - not on CD): Ted Brancato, Gary King, Kent Heckman, Eek-A-Mouse.
- Always On My Mind (Muse, 1985 - not on CD): David Braham, Ted Brancato, Wilbur "Dud Bascomb, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Ralph Dorsey, arranged by Jimmy Roach.
- The Talk of the Town (Muse, 1987): Cecil Bridgewater, Stan Hope, Buster Williams, Grady Tate, Ralph Dorsey.

- Basics (Muse, 1987): Stan Hope, Peter Martin Weiss, Cecil Brooks III, Ralph Dorsey.
- We Owe It All To Love (Baseline, 1988): Cecil Bridgewater, Ron Bridgewater, Jon Weiss, Horace Ott, Melvin Sparks, Wilbur "Dud" Bascomb, Cecil Brooks III, Sammy Figueroa, Ralph Dorsey.
- Something In Common - with Ron Carter (Muse, 1989 - also part of The Complete Muse Sessions)
- The Party (Muse, 1989): Joey DeFrancesco, Randy Johnston, Bertell Knox, Sammy Figueroa.
- Now's The Time - with Ron Carter (Muse, 1990 - also part of The Complete Muse Sessions)

- Just Friends - The Tenors of Buddy Tate, Nat Simkins & Houston Person (Muse, 1990 - reissued by Bluejay as Texas Tenors - Blowing Session in 2006): Stan Hope, Major Holley, Grady Tate.
- A Night In Roppongi - with Etta Jones (All Art, 1990 - issued 2004): Stan Hope, Peter Weiss, Cecil Brooks III.
- Why Not! (Muse, 1990): Philip Harper, Joey DeFrancesco, Randy Johnston, Winard Harper, Sammy Figueora.
- The Lion And His Pride (Muse, 1991): Philip Harper, Benny Green, Christian McBride, Winard Harper, Sammy Figueroa.
- Christmas with Houston Person and Friends (Muse, 1994 - reissued as Santa Baby on Savoy, 2003): Stan Hope, Bennie Green, Mike Renzi, Melvin Sparks, Randy Johnston, Cameron Brown, Peter Martin Weiss, Jay Leonhart, Alan Chip White, Winard Harper, Grady Tate, Etta Jones, Della Griffin.

- Horn To Horn - with Teddy Edwards (Muse, 1994 - reissued on 32 Jazz in 1999): Richard Wyands, Peter Washington, Kenny Washington.
- Close Encounters - with Teddy Edwards (HighNote, 1996): Stan Hope, Ray Drummond, Kenny Washington.
- Person-ified (HighNote, 1996): Richard Wyands, Ray Drummond, Kenny Washington.
- The Opening Round (Savant, 1997): Joey DeFrancesco, Rodney Jones, Tracy Wormworth, Bernard Purdie.
- My Romance (HighNote, 1998): Russell Malone, Richard Wyands, Ray Drummond, Kenny Washington.

- Soft Lights (HighNote, 1999): Russell Malone, Richard Wyands, Ray Drummond, Grady Tate.
- In A Sentimental Mood (HighNote, 2000): Stan Hope, George Kaye, Chip White.
- Together at Christmas - with Etta Jones (HighNote, 2000): Stan Hope, George Kaye, Chip White.
- Dialogues - with Ron Carter (HighNote, 2000)
- Blue Velvet (HighNote, 2001): Richard Wyands, Ray Drummond, Grady Tate.

- Sentimental Journey (HighNote, 2002): Richard Wyands, Russell Malone, Peter Washington, Grady Tate.
- Social Call (HighNote, 2003): Stan Hope, Paul Bollenback, Per-Ola Gadd, Chip White.
- To Etta With Love (HighNote, 2004): Stan Hope, Paul Bollenback, Per-Ola Gadd, Chip White.
- You Taught My Heart To Sing - with Bill Charlap (HighNote, 2004 - issued 2006)
- All Soul (HighNote, 2005): Stan Hope, Randy Johnston, Per-Ola Gadd, Chip White.

- Just Between Friends - with Ron Carter (HighNote, 2005 - issued 2008)
- Thinking Of You (HighNote, 2007): Eddie Allen, John di Martino, James Chirillo, Ray Drummond, Willie Jones III.

Houston Person Compilations:

- The Best of Houston Person (Prestige, 1970)
- Personality (Beat Goes Public, 1993)
- Legends of Acid Jazz - Houston Person (Prestige, 1996)
- The Complete Muse Sessions - with Ron Carter (32 Jazz, 1997)
- Lost & Found (32 Jazz, 1997 - include unissued 1991 album Sweet Slumber)

- Christmas with Houston Person and Etta Jones (32 Jazz, 1997)
- Truth! (Prestige, 1999)
- A Little Houston On The Side (32 Jazz, 1999 - a compilation of Houston Person's sideman appearances on Muse, reissued by Savoy Jazz, 2003)
- Trust In Me (Prestige, 2001)
- Broken Windows, Empty Hallways (Prestige, 2004)

- The Art And Soul Of Houston Person (HighNote, 2008 - includes four tracks recorded in 2008 not available on previous recordings)

Houston Person also appeared as a sideman in the 1960s and early 1970s on many albums by Johnny "Hammond" Smith (1963-70), Byrdie Green, Don Patterson, Billy Butler, Sonny Phillips, Gene Ammons, Charles Earland (on the hit "More Today Than Yesterday"), Charles Kynard, Horace Silver, Melvin Sparks, Ceasar Frazier, Tiny Grimes and Reuben Wilson.

Person also began a musical relationship with singer Etta Jones in 1968 that began on records in 1975 and continued until her death in 2001. By the late 1970s, Person also began producing records for the Muse label, nearly singlehandedly resurrecting or launching the recording careers of many musicians such as Richard "Groove" Holmes, Charles Earland, Johnny Lytle, Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott, Dakota Staton, Buck Hill, Cecil Brooks III, Della Griffin, Lorez Alexander, Michael Logan, Jimmy Ponder, Larry O'Neillm Randy Johnston, Ernie Andrews, Michael Carvin, Freddie Cole, Antoine Roney, Joyce DiCamillo, Sofia Laiti, Everette Greene, Effie Jansen, Peter Martin Weiss, David "Fathead" Newman, Santi Debriano, Stan Hope, Norman Simmons, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richard Wyands, Frank Morgan and Jeff Hackworth.

Houston Person can also be heard on records by Mike Mandel, Hank Crawford, Eric Gale, Leon Thomas, Lena Horne, Joey DeFrancesco, Judy Blair, Rhoda Scott, Ronnie Wells, Lorenzo, Lou Rawls, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Vanessa Rubin, Rodney Kendrick, The 3 Bs, Warren Vache, Miki Kohno, Carrie Smith, Judy Argo, Johnny Adams, Tony Zamangi, Doris Spears, Hisayo Tominaga, Joyce DiCamillo, Julie Divine, Denise Perrier. ESPM, Junior Mance, Johnny Adams, Paul Brown, Ron Carter, Doris Spears, Marty Elkins, Kenny Colman, Ronnie Wells, Cyndra Fyore, Daryl Sherman, Steve Kroon, Janis Siegel, Pearl Williams, James Williams, Vic Seneri, Carol Slone, Mocean Worker, Mike Torsone, Statesmen of Jazz, Roy Meriwether, Barbara Morrison, Nancy Kelly, Chip White, Martirio, Aaron Weinstein, Rebecca Parris, Pamela Luss, Diana Marino and Pamela Luss and, recently, The Peter Hand Big Band.


Alain said...

Sorry, I just see the album Greene Street/Houston

Anonymous said...

Two points, Doug.

Gospel soul of HP was issued on CD by P-Vine (PCD5345).

The Various Artists compilation "Together", issued on BGP BGPD071, has two previously unissued tracks from "The real thing", including a fifteen min version of "Lester leaps in" and an Etta Jones feature "Blowtop blues".


Unknown said...

Great job on the Houston Express awesome stuff!

Marcos Henrique said...

Hi, Douglas. Good Job. I agree that Houston Person is one of the greatest tenor player of all the times. An artist in the top of his maturity. I found some disc in the WEB, I bought others via Amazon. But there are those that are really rare. Do you have any link?

adam said...

Thanks for the coverage of this tenor giant! Got to see him play in a small club this summer, and he sounds better than ever.

Dave in Brooklyn said...

Thanks so much for this labor of love. Houston Person is a beautiful player, funky, soulful, perfect. Greatly appreciate all the info.

Fourcade said...

Having never heard of HP (well, a bit that's why I'm curious), I really
appreciate your wonderful discography, I'm using it as a guide for digging
deep into the music of this astonishing musician. Thx a lot!!

Anonymous said...