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So That's How It Is

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Album Review

Hod O'Brien has been around the jazz scene since the early 1950s, though he is unjustly overlooked by many critics and radio programmers. This 1997 trio session for Reservoir with bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Kenny Washington reaffirms his value as a contributor to jazz. He more than does justice to a trio of pieces from the Great American Songbook ("Cheek to Cheek," "Where or When" and "Will You Still Be Mine?"). It's also nice to hear obscurities like Victor Feldman's rapid fire "Exodus" or Quincy Jones' loping "Meet Benny Bailey" played with a freshness that makes one wonder why the piece has laid dormant so long. He also debuts "Ultramarine," a new composition by Warren Chiasson in a light swinging samba arrangement, and a brand new original, "Little Ronnie's Here," a charming bossa nova. The intimate sound of Rudy Van Gelder's recording of the trio makes it seem like a private concert, while the listener can supply the applause.


Born: 19 January 1936 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

b. Walter Howard O’Brien, 19 January 1936, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Although his family, on his mother’s side, was musical, O’Brien was adopted when only six-weeks old. Fortunately, however, his adoptive parents were also musically inclined and he began playing piano as a child, listening to records by the stride and boogie pianists popular in the early 40s. Interviewed in 2001 by Jazz Journal International’s Gordon Jack, O’Brien declared that by the time he was 14 he was ‘hooked on bebop through...
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So That's How It Is, Hod O'Brien
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