He’s one of the best . . . He’s got bull chops!
– Dizzy Gillespie
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.
Person built his reputation as a leader with a series of soulful recordings for Prestige in the 60s. However, for a large part of his career he was best-known for his legendary partnership with the great vocalist, Etta Jones, which lasted over 30 years until her death in 2001. Recently he has performed with vocalist Barbara Morrison, the great Ernie Andrews and in the past has worked with Ernestine Anderson, Della Griffin and Dakota Staton.
ODU Residency Schedule:
Thursday, April 11
- 3:00 p.m. Clinic. Diehn 1201
- 4:30 p.m. Open rehearsal with ODU Jazz Orchestra. Diehn 1105
Friday, April 12
- 10:00 a.m. Clinic, Diehn 1201
- 1:00 p.m. Open rehearsal with ODU Jazz Choir, Chandler Hall
Sunday, April 14
- 4:00 p.m. Concert, ODU Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Choir, Chandler Hall
Monday, April 15
- 1:00 p.m. Clinic, Diehn 1201
- 7:30 p.m. Concert with John Toomey Trio, Chandler Hall (Diehn Series)
Free parking is available in Garage E, 49th
Street and Bluestone Avenue, and in the circular lot between the F.
Ludwig Diehn Center for the Performing Arts and Webb University Center.
Photo by John Abbott