Brian Ho began playing piano at the early age of five taking lessons at both Stanford and San Jose State. By the age of sixteen, he began to play professionally and started teaching. After his college years spent studying music at UC Davis, he decided to pursue his love of music as a leader, composer, and arranger. Brian now leads his own group on the Hammond Organ and is an in demand sideman. While Brian still stays rooted in the tradition of classic Hammond Organists such as Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, and Jack Mc Duff; with his vast knowledge of styles and influences he has developed his own unique and modern take on organ jazz.
“Brian Ho is a Bay Area Organist that I’m really digging these days. He sounds good, doing some cool stuff, and keeping the tradition alive…the future of jazz organ is in good hands.”Joey Defrancesco
One of the most influential experiences he had was playing for an African American Baptist Church for several years as a young teenager. This is where he first forged his love affair with the Hammond Organ. Brian now performs almost exclusively as a Hammond Organ player. He solos and comps with his right hand while his left hand and feet play organ bass in the same tradition as his organ idols, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Shirley Scott, and of course, Jimmy Smith.
Brian owns a 1960’s Hammond A100 and a 1960’s Hammond A101 as well as two vintage Leslie 122’s. A Hammond A100 and A101 is identical to a B3 except with speakers. When a bringing is not feasible, Brian brings a portable digital replica of the B3. In 2009, he became an endorser for the Hammond-Suzuki Organs. After the endorsement, he played with the Hammond XK3c Pro XK dual manual system with the Hammond XPK-200 pedals and Leslie 3300. In 2013, he became a Crumar Mojo artist. In 2017, he became a Viscount Key B artist and currently he uses a Viscount Legend Live.
In early 2012, Brian released his first full CD release entitled “Organic” which features guitarist Calvin Keys (Ray Charles, Ahmad Jamal), Lorca Hart, and Oscar Pangilinan. The CD features several of Brian’s original compositions along with a few choice covers and standards that he has arranged. The album debuted at #11 on the CMJ Jazz Charts. It spent 8 weeks on the CMJ jazz charts with 4 weeks in the top 20. During that time, the Jazz Week charts were down but when it went back up on June 4th, it charted in it’s first week. The CD is available on ITunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.
Pete Fallico (KCSM 91.1, Doodlin Records) writes, “the whole package offers such a refreshing palate of organ combo grooves and sonic delights.”
Andrew Gilbert (Jazz Times, San Jose Mercury News) writes, “Organic is an impressive debut.”
Brian newest album, Organic, features Paul Bollenback and Byron “Wookie” Landham (2/3’rds of Joey Defrancesco’s original trio) which will be released in 2024.
Brian is fortunate to play with some of the finest musicians including Azar Lawrence, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, Richie Cole, Calvin Keys, Akira Tana, Mimi Fox, Josh Jones, Leon Joyce, Anton Schwartz, Dave Ellis, Melicio Magdaluyo, Annie Sellick, Christian Tamburr, Chuck McPherson, Bob Kenmotsu, Tony Peebles, Terrence Brewer, Lorca Hart, Clifford Brown III, Rick Vandavier, Wally Schnalle, Oscar Pangilinan, Nicholas Bearde, Jason Lewis, Jack Riordan, Joe De Rose, Randy Vincent, Mason Razavi, Mike Scott, Jim Witzel, Ken Okada, and many more.
Brian performs regularly at several prominent concerts, jazz clubs (SF and Oakland Yoshis, etc) , jazz festivals (including the Monterey Jazz Festival, Taichung Jazz Festival, Stanford Jazz Festival, Healdsberg Jazz Festival, Sonoma Jazz Festival, Benecia Jazz Festival, SJ Jazz Festival, etc), fine restaurants and bars. He has also performed at the 2013 Hammond Organ Fellowship Concert put on by Pete Fallico.
In addition to performing, Brian is an instructor, and a dealer for Hammond and Viscount Organs, and he writes for Keyboard Magazine. Click here for his review on the Hammond SK1-73.