Pianist, composer, bandleader Hod O’Brien left the planet on November 20, 2016, at 80, having been dueling with cancer for some time. Illness made him shy, reticent, unwilling to talk about himself — but wanting to shine the spotlight on wife Stephanie Nakasian and daughter Veronica Swift, both singers.
Although Hod was heralded as a bebop pianist, I thought of him more as a great melodist. Even when he was illuminating songs with altered chords, the melody was never far away. Here he is, at Mezzrow, on March 19, 2016 — eight months before his death — with the young bassist Daryl Johns. You’ll understand what I mean about Hod’s deep melodic streak, and the way he cherishes any lyrical composition. Thank you, Hod, for making beauty for us so generously.
YOURS IS MY HEART ALONE:
IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU:
ASK ME NOW:
and the sorrowfully appropriate ALL TOO SOON.
May your happiness increase!