Photo by Gene Martin
"He's one of the best . . . He's got bull chops!"
Global performer Houston Person knows the music business inside out, from booking his own tours to producing his own albums. As eclectic as he is talented, Person has recorded everything from disco and gospel to pop and R&B, plus his trademark soulful hard-bop.
Houston grew up in Florence, South Carolina, playing piano before switching to the tenor sax at age 17. He went on to study music at South Carolina State College and later at Hartt School of Music. As a member of the United States Air Force band he played with Eddie Harris, Cedar Walton, and Don Ellis. Person built his reputation as a leader with a series of soulful recordings for Prestige in the 60s. But he was best-known for his legendary partnership with the great vocalist, Etta Jones, which lasted over 30 years until her death in 2001.
Houston's appearances as a sideman are legion, and include recordings with Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Dakota Staton, Horace Silver, and many others. As a record producer, he has worked with Freddy Cole, Charles Brown, Buck Hill, Staton, and Ernie Andrews. In 1990, his recording with Ron Carter, "Something in Common" (Muse), won the Independent Jazz Record of the Year Award, and he received an Indie Award for his recording, "Why Not?" (Muse). Other awards have included the Eubie Blake Jazz Award (1982) and Fred Hampton Scholarship Fund Image Award (1993).
Houston Person has recorded over 75 albums as a leader. Two recordings with Etta Jones were Grammy finalists in 1999 and 2000. Houston's latest for HighNote is a three-disc collection featuring his best and four new tracks, all recorded at the famed Rudy Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Entitled "The Art and Soul of Houston Person", this is the first multi-disc retrospective to be issued by HighNote.
This is Houston Person's first appearance at Litchfield. His Quartet members are Stan Hope on piano, Jon Burr on bass and Chip White on drums.