Houston PersonHe’s one of the best . . . He’s got bull chops!” – Dizzy Gillespie

Dubbed “the natural heir to the Boss Tenor crown worn so long and so well by Gene Ammons” (Bob Porter), 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, in addition to his trademark, soulful hard bop. After years as producer and house tenor for HighNote Records and touring with the late Etta Jones, Person is now known as a master of popular songs played in a relaxed, highly accessible style reminiscent of the great Ben Webster.

Person grew up in Florence, South Carolina, and remembers his parents listening to lots of music at home, including jazz. First playing piano before switching to the tenor sax at age 17, he went on to study music at South Carolina State College (where he is included in the school’s Hall of Fame), and later pursued advanced studies at Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. As a member of the United States Air Force band stationed in Germany, he played with Eddie Harris, Cedar Walton, and Don Ellis, later working as a sideman for organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith in the mid 1960s.

After building his reputation as a leader with a series of soulful recordings for Prestige in the 1960s, he became best-known for his legendary partnership with the great vocalist, Etta Jones. The partnership lasted over 30 years until Etta’s death in 2001.

Houston’s appearances as sideman are legendary and include recordings with Etta Jones, Lena Horne, Lou Rawls, Dakota Staton, Horace Silver, Charles Earland, Joey DeFrancesco, and many others. As a record producer, he worked with many artists, including Etta Jones, Freddy Cole, Charles Brown, David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Dakota Staton, and Ernie Andrews. His discography includes Something in Common (Muse), Why Not? (Muse) and over 75 albums as a leader on Prestige, Westbound, Mercury, Savoy, and Muse, which became HighNote Records. His HighNote recordings as both tenor artist and producer, My Buddy: Etta Jones Sings the Songs of Buddy Johnson and Etta Jones Sings Lady Day, were Grammy finalists. Additional recordings include The Art and Soul of Houston Person (HCD 7200) and his latest recording, Mellow (HCD 7206).

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