Hod O'Brien

So That's How It Is

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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.

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