Friday, September 14, 2012

Glenn Hardy, piano

The previous two posts indicate something of the range of pianism; in the case of Justine Verdier, of a budding concert pianist in the classical music tradition, who was incidentally playing some of my favourite piano music by Beethoven and Ravel, then in the case of Viktoriya Yermolyeva, of a pianist who obviously demonstrates both a tremendous technique and a considerable body of work which fully establishes the seriousness with which the musical material was treated, despite what any of us might say about the initial value of the original music. As it so happens, neither of these artists have I met personally, though who knows? I might at some time in the future have that pleasure.

This time, I'm introducing my audience to someone I went to school with a long time ago. Glenn Hardy has had a particular interest in American piano styles reaching back into the ragtime era around the turn of the last century. Here's an example:

Ragtime Piano: Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag

When Glenn and I used to get together in San Francisco, another lifetime ago, he would casually pull out some complicated rag and play it as one would a piece of Schubert or Mozart; with respect for the music, and as if he were sitting for a recording or preparing just how he would play it in public. Glenn's technique always impressed me. Here's something else he plays with consummate ease from a live performance:

Boogie-Woogie Times Three by Glenn Hardy

His notes are important: This illustrated “three different boogie-woogies...New Orleans, Kansas City, and another New Orleans. My own adaptations, of course...inspired by Professor Longhair, Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, James Booker.”
These are styles Glenn took the time, patience and effort to analyze, break apart, determine their technical foundation, and then make them his own. Glenn also plays jazz as if it was and is as timeless as something officially more “classical”. Here's a good example, Glenn plays a 1939 song from a Broadway show, Swingin' The Dream, music by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Eddie DeLange. Here is Glenn's adaptation of "Darn That Dream":

Darn That Dream
You can find out more about Glenn here:

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