There are jazz legends and then there are the “underground of the jazz renowned” – those who, although not as well known to the general public, are hailed by critics, revered by their legendary peers, influential upon younger players and sought after by collectors and cognoscenti. Hod O'Brien is one of these.
Hod O’Brien is one of these quiet-and-true jazz giants. He burst upon the scene in the late 50s when he came to New York City from his hometown in the Berkshire Mountains of Northwest Connecticut near Lenox, Mass. and Tanglewood. He soon became part of the “loft scene” jamming with other bop-influenced players like Pepper Adams, Kenny Burrell, Oscar Pettiford and Stan Getz, to name a few. At the age of 21, he was hired to record with Art Farmer, Donald Byrd and Idrees Sulieman on a record which has become a classic, “Three Trumpets” (now retitled “Trumpets All Out” on the Prestige label). He became an active part of the NY scene playing at such historical clubs as Birdland, the Continental, the Cork and Bib, the Black Pearl and Small’s Paradise.
A masterful bop-based improviser... his lines unfolding with an impressive blend of precision and propulsive swing.
—Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times
The best bebop pianist this side of Barry Harris.
—Len Dobbin, The Montreal Mirror
A most extraordinary distinguished musician... second generation of bebop pianomen... more elegant expression - his stroke is both stringent and sparkling... he creates intimacy
—Boris Rabinowitsch, Politiken, Copenhagen, Denmark
Unsung hero of Jazz... master of classic bebop piano
—Scott Yanow, L.A