Houston Person & Ron Carter – Chemistry – HighNote

by | Aug 4, 2016 | Jazz CD Reviews

Houston Person & Ron Carter – Chemistry [TrackList follows] – HighNote HCD 7293 49:25 ****:

An exuberant release from a definitive bassist and an earthy tenor saxophonist.

(Houston Person – tenor saxophone; Ron Carter – bass)

The word chemistry springs from the word alchemy which in its very early etymology was often seen as linked to the search to turn common metals such as iron into gold. This release is called Chemistry from Houston Person and Ron Carter, and the intermediate process has been eliminated, resulting in pure gold.

In this session of standards, the tunes have been culled from the American Songbook with the intention of providing unabashed look at life, love youth and beauty. So if you want to hear two masters at work, playing off and for each other, this is the place to be. In addition, the dean of recording engineers Rudy Van Gelder brought his artistry to the session giving both instruments a deep full approachable sound that was a hallmark of his style.

Miles Davis’ first great quintet recorded “Bye Bye Blackbird” and although Ron Carter was in the second iteration of the group, he was fully aware of the connection to the band. Person and Carter give their own dynamic to the interpretation of the number with rapt empathy. Over twenty-five years ago, this duo began their first collaboration with an album entitled Something In Common. Five releases later they remain committed to the format, but with time on their side they have become empathetic and open-minded colleagues.

With exemplary taste and a vast working repertoire, Person and Carter put their inimitable stamp on such well-known classics such as “But Beautiful”, “Young And Foolish” and “Fools Rush In”. For the longest cut on the album, they chose a number  that is less frequently heard “Blame It On My Youth” written by Edward Heyman and Oscar Levant in 1934. As Houston Person readily admits in the fulsome liner notes written by Allen Morrison : “I study the lyric. I study the melody”. Just listen to Person’s tenor as he pushes out the first line of the lyrics “If I expected love when first we kissed/Blame it on my youth”, one can almost hear Chris Connor’s evocative vocal of the tune done for her 1956 album This Is Chris.

There is one pure jazz composition and that is Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk” which was released in 1954 on the album Thelonious Monk Trio. Written as a B flat blues, Person and Carter take the measure of the piece with their muscular and unimpeded style. An exuberant release from a definitive bassist and an earthy tenor saxophonist.

TrackList: Bye Bye Blackbird; But Beautiful; Young And Foolish; Fools Rush In; Can’t We Be Friends; Blame It On My Youth; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was; I Can’t Get Started; Blue Monk; When I Fall In Love

—Pierre Giroux

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Apollo's Fire
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01