Person, Houston

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Person, Houston

Person, Houston, one of the more prolific saxophonists on the jazz scene with a style that has served him well both commercially and artistically for over three decades; b. Florence, S.C., Nov. 10, 1934. Along with Grant Green, Stanley Turrentine, Charles Earland, and Richard “Groove” Holmes, tenor saxophonist Houston Person was at the forefront of the “groove jazz” movement in the late 1960s/early 1970s. A pianist as a child, he took up tenor sax at age 17. His first major break came when he played with organist Johnny “Hammond” Smith. After he left Smith’s group, he began a fruitful solo career, but continued to do extensive work as a sideman, including a long relationship with singer Etta Jones. Since the late 1970s, he has been the house producer and saxophonist for HighNote (formerly Muse) Records. As High Note’s session saxophonist of choice, he can always be counted on to deliver tasteful solos with his unique tone. His recordings are fun, and though sometimes predictable, generally filled with good playing. While he has strong R&B and blues influences, he is an excellent and underrated straight-ahead player whose funkier jazz dates feature more sophisticated playing than usually heard in such settings.


Goodness! (1969); Legends of Acid Jazz (1970–71); Lost & Found (1978); Wildflower (1978); Sweet Slumber (1978); The Complete Muse Sessions (1989); Person- ified (1997); The Opening Round (1997); Christmas with Houston Person & Etta Jones (1997).

—Paul MacArthur