Press

 

“Considering that the Hammond Organ Company built the last B-3 organ some four decades ago, the unwieldy-but-sweet-sounding instrument is enjoying something of a moment in the Bay Area’s jazz scene…One reason the B-3 is flourishing in the Bay Area is KCSM DJ and Doodlin’ Lounge host Pete Fallico, a tireless champion of the instrument. Fallico produced Carn’s recent album, and has made a point of presenting concerts featuring established masters and supporting younger players, like Brian Ho.” – KQED, Andrew Gilbert – July 12th, 2016

 

Article on legendary Organist Larry Young and his recently released album with quotes by Brian Ho – Downbeat Magazine– May 2016

 

“Saturday was the first full day of the San Jose Jazz Festival, a scene of summer perfection…Listeners arriving early Saturday might have heard Cuban-born drummer Dafnis Prieto…or B-3 organist Brian Ho, unleashing warm waves of jazz” – San Jose Mercury News, Richard Scheinin – August 10th, 2013

 

“The Bay Area is one of the power centers for B-3 activity, from young turks Brian Ho in Sunnyvale and Blades in Berkeley” – San Jose Mercury News, Richard Scheinin – February 3, 2014

 

“Baird launched the group last year with rising San Jose B-3 organist Brian Ho (who can often be found working with Oakland guitar master Calvin Keys) and Portland-based guitarist René Planchon, with whom he started playing in high school. They’re often joined by saxophonist Tony Peebles, a mainstay in the Grammy Award-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra…when Baird mentioned he was interested in starting an organ-based band Peebles told him to check out a group playing at the DoubleTree in the Berkeley Marina (where drummer Josh Jones now holds down a regular Saturday gig). “I got to sit in and play with Brian,” Baird says, “and I knew I’d found my guy.”” – Berkeley Side, Andrew Gilbert – June 9th, 2016

 

“Brian Ho is a young jazz organist from the Bay Area who possesses a great deal of love and energy for the music we call ‘jazz organ’. From the first moment I heard him, I knew he was going to make a name for himself in this genre. He has his feet planted firmly in the tradition of jazz organ but he also seems to be moving forward in his own way; etching-out a position for himself in the music world.” – Interview with Pete Fallico in the Doodlin’ Lounge – May 15th, 2013

 

 

“Brian Ho, rising jazz star. These days, Ho is one of the region’s most promising young jazz organists. “Organic” features several infectiously grooving pieces by Ho, such as the Latin-tinged opener “Tres Ritmo” and the bossa nova-powered “Artful Dodger.” He also explores Horace Silver’s jukebox hit “Song for My Father,” Duke Ellington’s classic ballad “In a Sentimental Mood” and Amy Winehouse’s breakthrough “Rehab.” “Brian is an excellent organist, and he’s going to get better,” says Calvin Keys.” – San Jose Mercury News, Andrew Gilbert – January 7th, 2012

 

 

“If the 1950s were the heyday of the organ as a jazz instrument, we’re at least in the midst of a healthy renaissance now. Dozens of top-notch players are pumping the Hammond B-3, reminding us that jazz and funk can get along quite nicely and that — amidst all theory and showboating — there’s nothing wrong with jazz being mainly fun…Locally, the torch is being burned by Brian Ho, who stretches his stuff without overextending on the groovy new album, “Organic.”

While Ho is obviously deeply familiar with the whole of jazz organ history, he’s his own cat, striking a fertile middle ground between the psychedelic freak-outs of Dr. Lonnie Smith and the more groove-centric style of, say, Jimmy McGriff…Ho’s quartet strikes a fine overall balance on the new CD, giving player ample opportunity to show their virtuosity and soul on a mix of originals, standards and one cheeky surprise.

MVP honors have to go to guitarist Calvin Keys, who accounts for much of the CD’s emotional range. One minute he’s laying down the funk like nobody’s business, on the sprightly Ho original “Beat Street.” The next, he’s striking a lyric, introspective tone on a charming run through Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father.” As for the cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” — who knew there was a sturdy tune underneath all the emotional baggage?” – Bay Area Jazz Examiner, David Becker – May 15th, 2012

 

 

“Ho, pedaling right on the money with each note of his bass lines, colored each song with choice chords and lively solos that sometimes waterfalled in flight-of-the-bumblebee-esque runs down the organ…the concert’s pyrotechnics was most exemplary with their last tune, “Tres Ritmo,” actually pulled from Ho’s 2011 release, Organic. In the first wave of soloists were Ho and Keys, Ho a master of his own song with wailing bop-blues shapes in the upper reaches of his organ and Keys an acrobat in his brilliantly angular and arpeggio-powered lyricism.” – Review on the Calvin Keys Quartet @ Stanford Jazz 2013 by Tyler Brooks – August 6th, 2013

 

 

“Brian Ho’s latest release is just that – Organic! A righteous groove you can use that like a handful of others does not come from the heart or the soul but find Ho’s musical soul and hang a hard right and go deeper and you find that musical happy place that is the human experience and condition personified in musical form. The music moves with an extreme sense of lyrical purpose. This is musical nirvana, an incredible place where feeling and expression collide into an ensemble that is going beyond chemistry but that rare musical synergy of a formidable 4tet playing with the musical cohesion of one unified voice.

Brian Ho is without a doubt one of the finest young organ phenoms to be working today. If an organ “trio” (despite this being a 4tet ) is what trips your musical trigger then Brian Ho and Organic is an absolute must.” – Critical Jazz– April 12th, 2012

 

“He’s learning, he’s going to get better too, so I been helping him as much as I can,” said the 70-year old guitarist, Calvin Keys, of his new keyboard accompanist. “That’s what we gotta do, we got to pass it on to these youngsters. He gives me a lot of respect, and I love him and work with him as much as I can”…Keys plays on Ho’s CD of last year, “Organic” – Calvin Keys Organ Quartet with Brian Ho at Healdsburg Jazz Festival– May 31st, 2012

 

 

 

– The JazzWord by John Barron – December 17th, 2011

 

“A collaborative sound that provides a lively set.

*** 1/2 stars (out of four). –

The group makes the most of its time and provides a lively set in a variety of tempos, moods, and rhythms. Leading off with a Ho original “Tres Ritmo”, the group takes this head arrangement into jam territory with sizzling energy. ”Beat Street” is a grabber that features Lorca Hart’s drumming with a Caribbean beat…There are a couple of other tunes worth mentioning including Ho’s “Restoring The Faith” which has a stop–time feel…On Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father” and Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”—the group really seems to find its groove…Ho and his cohorts offer a refreshing listening experience.”

– Audiophile Audition by – April 14th, 2012

 

There’s just something about these young cats that have an old school affinity but know how to bring that inescapable special sauce that makes it imperceptibly modern for modern ears. Ho is right in the classic B3 pocket and brings a crew that thinks like he does. With all the new B3 in the recent air, this is a fine addition to the pack that knows how to seamlessly elbow it’s way in without making waves or roiling waters. This young Asian American that learned it from jump doing a Sunday gig at an African American church where the true believers were the rocking hymnal hardcore, is probably one of those Asian kids that f—– up grading curve in math class for the rest of us, but all is forgiven with this kind of playing. We’re too old to be giving swirlies at this time anyway. This kid is going to be huge and it all begins here. Get on board for early bragging rights now. –

Midwest Records Reviews– April 14th, 2012

 

 

“Hammond B3 organist Brian Ho is known locally for collaborating with blues guitarist Calvin Keys, and now he’s consolidated his career as a leader. His new album features a tight quartet with Keys, Oscar Pangilinan on tenor sax, and Lorca Hart on drums. The band does a swing version of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” but the apex comes at the end — a churchy tribute to Ellington, followed by a catchy original. ” – East Bay Express (Rachel Swan)– May 30th, 2012

 

 

“Brian Ho is taking the opportunity to shove the Hammond Organ back to the forefront and has gotten together a swingin’ boppin’ threesome to help him…it’s obvious Ho really likes the old Jimmy Smith / Brother Jack McDuff / Lonnie Smith sound but nonetheless trots out some surprisingly Brian Auger-esque riffs and lines…That whole ‘groovin’ now, lookin’ ahead’ thing is perfectly embodied here, as the temper of the entire affair finds itself adroitly balanced.” – Fame (Mark Tucker)– April 30th, 2012

 

 

“For fans of the organ, this is an easy listen…Ho is a young B-3 organist from San Jose, and he’s using the instrument as it was intended – to play soulful jazz…The group is cohesive and gets into the pocket quickly for a grooving, catchy listen.” – Jazz Society of Oregon (Kyle O’Brien)– May, 2012

 

 

“Ho is a bona fide groover….The song selection is a balance of original compositions and nicely done covers, from classics to pop…This is a fantastic recording kickoff for a rising star of the keys.” – The Jazz Page – If it’s here it should be in your collection– May, 2012

 

 

“I’ve been enjoying local organist Brian Ho’s new album…the show, at was standing room only…all four instruments blend into a seamless whole with a sweet sound.” – MetBlogs– April 1st, 2012

 

 

“Brian Ho is a part of the next generation of B3 grooves incorporating a contemporary fusion and Organic is his debut recording. He teams up with Oscar Pangilinan (sax), Calvin Keys (g) and drummer Lorca Hart. They play freshly arranged classics and a few originals. They cook and roll all the way through eight selections crafting a strong start for Ho.” Performance – 4/5 stars – O’s Place– April 15th, 2012

 

“Calvin Keys Keys maintains a deep affinity for the B3, evidenced by his exhilarating work on South Bay organist Brian Ho’s recent debut album “Organic.”
– Calvin Keys article, Andrew Gilbert

 

 

“Hammond B3 organist Brian Ho is known locally for collaborating with blues guitarist Calvin Keys, and now he’s consolidated his career as a leader. His new album features a tight quartet…the band does a swing version of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” but the apex comes at the end — a churchy tribute to Ellington, followed by a catchy original.” – Organic CD Review, East Bay Express