Allison Piano is sponsoring a jazz series in April that corrects that imbalance. Legendary New York tenor saxophonist Houston Person will appear with Miles Black (piano), Jodi Proznick (bass) and Jesse Cahill (drums) on Monday, April 25 at the Belfry Arts Centre in Victoria (7:30 pm) and again on Tuesday, April 26 – this time with Phil Dwyer taking the piano seat – at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo (7:30 pm).
We’re all guilty of overusing the term “legend” but in Houston Person’s case it really is deserved. He’s recorded more than 75 albums as a bandleader on major labels, and he toured, recorded, and performed for years with the great jazz singer Etta Jones (not to be confused with the popular singer Etta James). His list of credits also includes Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Horace Silver, Joey DeFrancesco and Ron Carter.
Person is known as a soulful, passionate, melodic player with huge audience appeal. He prefers to play music that people can connect with emotionally rather than cerebral, elitist jazz that appeals to just a few. In a 2004 All About Jazz interview he summed it up by saying, ” … the only real barometer that you have is the people, and I realized that a long time ago.”
My own experience with Houston Person’s music is an appearance he made in Victoria some years ago with Hugh Fraser, and a duo album he recorded with bassist Ron Carter (Just Between Friends), which has become one of my favourite recordings. Based on those listening experiences, all I can say is don’t miss him – he’s a phenomenal player who will leave you feeling really good and deeply in love with jazz all over again.
Tickets for all the shows are available at Allison Piano(250 384 3935). Or you can contact The Belfry Arts Centre (250 385 6815) or the Port Theatre in Nanaimo (250 754-8550).