With over 70 albums as leader under his belt, saxophonist Houston, now approaching his 85th birthday, knows a thing or two about the recording process and how to keep the customer satisfied in the process. So perhaps it is a little churlish not to be a little more enthusiastic about his latest recording where he has assembled a quality line-up to support his ongoing message. That message has always been led by his need to swing, delivered with a big tone and an assured authority, all the top players display.
On this disc we should perhaps luxuriate in those qualities given the choice of material and the sympathetic nature of the musicians towards the repertoire with the leader totally at home embedded in the cosy atmosphere of the mainly tried and trusted. But there is an element of taking care of business about the affair with just a suggestion that Houston’s tone is not what it used to be.
The band members collectively and individually acquit themselves as one would expect – there are some nice solos from Jones and Allen, although the latter displays a hesitancy on occasion but the general mood is that of mundanity.
There are better examples of the Houston craft to be had out there, which is painful to admit for a reviewer who has hitherto always enjoyed the saxophonist’s output.
Willow Weep For Me; Wonder Why: I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry; I’m Just A Lucky So And So; Who Can I Turn To; Day By Day; Alone With Just My Dreams; Song For A Rainbow; I Want To Talk About You; Next Time You See Me (54.47)
Person (ts); Eddie Allen (t); Lafayette Harris (p); Rodney Jones (g); Matthew Parrish (b); Kenny Washington (d). Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 30 November 2018.
HighNote HCD 7327