Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Houston Person & Jesse Van Ruller with the Rein de Graaff Trio - 28/03/2004, Heist-op-den-Berg

Houston Person - ts
Jesse van Ruller - g
Rein de Graaff - p
Marius Beets - b
Eric Ineke - dr

2 generations of players met in this ad hoc quintet: the senior citizens Houston Person, Rein de Graaff and Eric Ineke, and the thirty-something Jesse van Ruller and Marius Beets. The stylistic differences were slightly less marked than than the age difference, though.

Houston Person progressively warmed up throughout the two sets. At first he was rather restrained and stony-faced, but by the end he was positively ebulliant and actually said something loud enough for the crowd to half hear. His tenor was always out front: big, smooth, velvety, erupting into a sharp blues lick. No-nonsense, old-school soulful swing'n'bop playing. His last performance of the night was arguably his best, on a "Georgia on my Mind" encore.

Van Ruller also seemed to warm to the task progressively. By the time they reached a somehow odd sequence of "Sunny" and "Pennies From Heaven" in the second set, the guitarist was chomping at the bit of the imposed harmony. As they played a sign-off riff-blues for the third time of the night (each time featuring a rather mechanical, train-like snare drum shuffle from Eric Ineke), he made no bones about searching out his own harmonic paths, to great effect.

In between the various takes on the blues, you'd get a samba (first set) or a bossa (second set, during which Person nicely contrasted the lower-register theme with some brief light, high-register soloing), a ballad ("My Funny Valentine," for example). Nothing much to say about the concert other than just good, solid swing. The alternate name for the group, Movin' & Groovin', had kind of tipped us off.

More good shows coming up at the Hnita-Hoeve, check 'em out.