Blues Everywhere


Houston Person is playing great. He’s one of the last of the old-school tenor sax masters. Houston and Chris Potter played Monk tunes together last year, and I wrote at the time about one of the most cinematic moments I’ve ever experienced on the bandstand:

“Houston took the first solo on ‘Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues Are.’ He was wearing his glasses in order to read the tricky melody, and began blowing with the eyewear still on. However, after a few perfect blues phrases, Houston paused. He slowly took off the glasses placed them in his breast pocket while the rhythm section ticked over. (The thought bubble over Houston’s head read, ‘I got this.’) Then he recommenced laying down the law.”

When we first played together a couple of years ago, I commented:

“Tenors before Coltrane had more leeway. There was lots of vibrato: it was even furry, burry, or murky. There was less emphasis on nailing complex changes, although there was actually more detail per note. Transcribing someone like that on a slow blues or ballad is essentially impossible compared to transcribing a post-Coltrane tenor.”

I don’t know Chris Smith (who is also known as Cee Smith) as well but he’s awesome. He’s frequently in the soul/R&B scene but when we did a session his ears and command of jazz were fabulous. (For example, he made up a counter-line to “Wee” that I’d never heard before.) When I told Houston I got him a R&B bassist, he replied, “Oh, I’ll like him, then.”

Set list possibilities:

Holy Land
Blues Everywhere
Lover Man
If you See Me Now
Once in a While
Out of Nowhere
I’ve Never Been in Love Before
Lester Leaps In’
Round Midnight (F – )
Blue Monk
After Hours
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
There is no Greater Love
Stormy Weather
Strike Up the Band
If I Had You
In A Mellow Tone
Good Bait
Everything Happens to Me
These Foolish Things
If I were a Bell