"Whatever you do, don't stop any cars with your head," quips pianist Scott Cossu.
Unfortunately, Cossu, a 39-year-old resident of Olympia, Wash., did just that. In September, 1989, while walking to a meeting with his attorney about a possible film-score assignment, he was struck by a car at an intersection in Century City and suffered a traumatic brain injury. "I was told I walked across five lanes of traffic (either before or after I was hit), but I don't know anything about it," he says.
Cossu, who plays a concert also featuring keyboardist Barbara Higbie tonight at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro, says his memory loss runs from a month prior to the accident to about six months afterward.
During the latter period, he underwent rehabilitation at Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in Inglewood. (The concert benefits the hospital and the Southern California Head Injury Foundation.) He also proposed to a beautiful woman named Joanna, whom he often saw at his bedside.
"I asked her to marry me, but then said I couldn't because I was getting married to another woman named Joanna and she said, 'That's me,' " recalls Cossu, who is making only his second Los Angeles area appearance since his accident. "She told me later that if I hadn't had a busted jaw, she would have popped me," he adds, chuckling. The Cossus were married last summer.
The keyboardist, whose most recent album is "Switchback" (Windham Hill), has almost completely recovered from his injury. "My memory is coming back nicely, though I still have problems, like remembering some of my music," he says. "Music on paper, it has the notes, but not the emotions. I can't remember some of the feelings the songs had, so I'm writing new tunes."
Cossu, while not happy he's working less these days, says "the good news is that I'm still alive. There was a 40% chance I wouldn't make it through that first night."