Tributee: Etta Jones.
Personnel: Houston Person (tenor saxophone); Houston Person; Per-Ola Gadd (bass instrument); Paul Bollenback (guitar); Stan Hope (piano); Chip White (drums).
Audio Mixer: Rudy Van Gelder.
Recording information: Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (01/21/2004).
Photographer: Michael Dvorak.
One of the longest-lasting and critically lauded partnerships in jazz, the duo of vocalist Etta Jones and tenor saxophonist Houston Person ran from a concert in 1968 to Jones' death in 2001 on the same day their last album together, Etta Jones Sings Lady Day, was released. In tribute to Jones, To Etta With Love finds Person digging into various standards that Jones loved throughout her career. There is a melancholy, heartbreaking quality to these tracks. The fact that liner notes are included on an album without a vocalist only serves to further underline how much Jones' personality and style inform every note Person plays. The journeyman's warm, burnished tenor sound veritably weeps and more often soars through such classics as "Don't Go to Strangers," "For All We Know," and "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You." Backing Person here are the always sensitive talents of pianist Stan Hope, guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist Per-Ola Gadd, and drummer Chip White. Much like the singer Person knew, To Etta With Love is an understated, moving, and swinging elegy. ~ Matt Collar