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Live At Blues Alley - Second Set

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Album Review

Hod O'Brien's second volume from a 2004 gig at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C., is another evening of masterful piano, accompanied by two of the most in-demand accompanists, bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Kenny Washington. The program mixes well-known jazz compositions and standards played with imagination. The crowd is wowed immediately with his explosive take of Sonny Rollins' "Pent-Up House," though he easily switches gears for a relaxing interpretation of Billy Strayhorn's swinging "Snibor." The trio reaches a climax with its intense workout of Randy Weston's "Little Niles," capturing its nuances while adding O'Brien's personal touch as well. "Love Letters" is a chestnut that has been overlooked for some time; O'Brien's breezy treatment reveals its considerable merits as a vehicle for improvisation. "In a Sentimental Mood" is a showcase for Drummond's inventive bass, with lush backing by O'Brien and Washington's subdued brushwork. The pianist concludes the set with two more songs from the vast repertoire of Duke Ellington, following the rollicking "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me" with a jaunty interpretation of the inevitable "Take the 'A' Train."


Born: January 19, 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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Live At Blues Alley - Second Set, Hod O'Brien
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