Emmet Cohen Trio, Houston Person to unite in a cross-generational jazz concert

August 15, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Emmet Cohen Trio provided the instrumentals for last season’s Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State concert featuring vocalist Veronica Swift. This season, pianist Cohen and his trio mates, bassist Russell Hall and drummer Kyle Poole, will be accompanied by Houston Person, a hard bop jazz saxophonist who, in his celebrated career, has recorded everything from disco and gospel to pop and rhythm and blues.

For more information about the 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 performance at Schwab Auditorium, visit Center for the Performing Arts online or call 814-863-0255.

A charismatic performer, Cohen began playing piano at age 3. His “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary indicate he’s above any convoluted technical showmanship,” wrote a reviewer for DownBeat.

Cohen is the 2019 winner of the American Pianists Association’s highest award, the Cole Porter Fellowship, a competition that comes with a prize of $50,000 and a recording contract with Mack Avenue Records. He’s also the force behind the Masters Legacy Series, an ongoing set of recordings and interviews honoring legendary jazz musicians.

In addition to leading the Emmet Cohen Trio, he is a member of Christian McBride’s trio Tip City, the Ali Jackson Trio, and the Herlin Riley Quartet. He also performs regularly with Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Kurt Elling and others.

A man plays a saxophone.

“He’s one of the best,” trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie said of jazz saxophonist Houston Person. “He’s got bull chops.” Person will accompany the Emmet Cohen Trio in a Center for the Performing Arts concert at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at Schwab Auditorium.

IMAGE: Urko Dorronsoro Sagasti

His albums include “Dirty in Detroit” (2018), “Masters Legacy Series Volume 2” (2018) featuring Ron Carter, and “Masters Legacy Series Volume 1” (2017) featuring Jimmy Cobb.

Person also played piano until he switched to tenor saxophone at age 17. He studied music at South Carolina State College. Later, he pursued advanced music studies at the University of Hartford. As a member of a U.S. Air Force band based in Germany, Person played with jazz notables including pianist Cedar Walton.

“He’s one of the best,” trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie said of Person. “He’s got bull chops.”

Person established his reputation as a bandleader with a series of soulful recordings in the 1960s. For much of his career, though, he was known for his partnership with jazz vocalist Etta Jones. Between 1975 and 2001, Person and Jones recorded 16 albums together.

The saxophonist has performed on almost 70 albums as a leader, including 2018’s “Remember Love” with Carter, plus more than 60 as a sideman.

“I have always admired Houston Person for his huge tone, bluff humor and pointed obbligato,” wrote a Village Voice reviewer. “Person lucidly rides the beat with figures you think you’ve heard but haven’t. These are not recycled licks or clichés; they simply seem familiar. … Ask him what’s important in his music, and Houston Person notes that, 'It’s important that it’s relaxing … relaxes you and makes you feel good.'”

Lam and Lina Hood, Nancy Gamble and Gretchen Leathers sponsor the concert. Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before this performance.

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(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 27, 2019