Houston Person and Warren Vaché “Du-et” Again

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Legendary jazz cornetist Warren Vaché and tenor soul master Houston Person are grand marshals of a parade of guest artists appearing on John Armato’s debut album, "The Drummer Loves Ballads." They are featured in a duet on the classic "Don’t Worry ’bout Me" by Rube Bloom and Ted Koehler.

The pair is known for their duets. Person appeared on Vaché’s "Horn of Plenty" (Muse, 1993) and Vaché returned the favor on Person’s "So Nice" (HighNote, 2011) and "Rain or Shine" (HighNote, 2017).

With more than 75 albums as leader and countless more as sideman, Person has come to define the term "soul jazz" with his lush, spare and heartfelt approach to the tenor saxophone. With nearly three dozen dates as leader and innumerable more as sideman, Vaché is a supremely accomplished and versatile cornet (and trumpet and flugelhorn) artist consistently in demand for his burnished tone, lyrical style, and intelligent improvisations.

"A highlight of my years in New York was the many Sundays tenor saxophonist Bob Kindred invited me to sit in at his jazz brunch at Café Loup," said Armato. "Occasionally he called me for other gigs, including a couple with Warren, which made me swoon. I hadn’t worked with Houston before, but the night I heard him live at the Iridium was like sitting in front of a warm fireplace on a cold evening. When I decided to record "Don’t Worry ’bout Me," I immediately thought of them both."

A decade had passed since those experiences, though, so Armato asked his friend, the singer Anne Phillips, former wife of the late Bob Kindred, if she could help connect the dots to Houston and Warren. She said yes. "And lucky for jazz fans everywhere, so did they," said Armato.

"The Drummer Loves Ballads" was designed to be a new soundtrack for lazy Sunday afternoons, romantic evenings, and melancholy midnights, but it plays like a long-lost jazz favorite. Ballads define the playlist but vary in style and mood, ranging from intimate quartet settings to sweeping orchestral arrangements (by Paul Roberts).

Other featured artists include German jazz violist Steffen Drabek; vocalists Ron Gutierrez, Lisa Henry, Lucy Wijnands, and the late Molly Hammer; woodwind artists Brett Jackson, Doug Talley and Lynn Zimmer; and the late Jeff Lisenby on accordion. Vaché also does a solo turn on the album’s opener, "Dreamsville," by Henry Mancini.

The album was produced by John Cushon with primary recording by Justin Wilson (Pete Milrose handled the console for the Person/Vaché session), mixing by Howie Lindeman, and mastering by Greg Calbi of Sterling Sound. It features Armato on drums with Wayne Hawkins on piano, Gerald Spaits on bass, and Rod Fleeman on guitar.

"The Drummer Loves Ballads" is available at the album website, Amazon, and major music platforms.

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Tom Estey


SOURCE John Armato