Monday, February 9, 2009

Glory at the Grammys

Lastnight on the Grammy Awards it was great to see Leonard Pennario's picture flashed across the screen in the "In Memoriam" montage. Thanks, everyone who shared my joy! Above is the picture they ran. It was not the one they had decided they were going to use, but I sent them both pictures, and both of them were excellent. Pennario never took a bad picture!

What, never? No, never!

What, never?

Ahem... Well, hardly ever.

There were a few. There was one where he had this look, he called it a smirk, that he wished he hadn't had. We used to take that picture out and laugh about it. But all the pictures I floated by the Grammys were good, so it didn't matter to me which one they used.

I did not watch the whole ceremony, but what I saw was interesting.

It was bittersweet seeing the Four Tops and Smokey Robinson. I felt bad about losing Levi Stubbs.

The sight of them in their suits also made me nostalgic for the days when bands dressed up and looked dapper when they took the stage. Pop musicians now almost always have that look of studied grunge.

Rap, when will it ever go out of style? Hasn't it had its 15 minutes?

I had to smile, though, seeing Radiohead. That is because I was thinking about how the pianist Christopher O'Riley covers this band's stuff. You can watch him playing one of their songs here. It sounds sometimes like Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive," now that I am listening to it. Which sounds, in turn, like a Chopin prelude. I know, because just now I went downstairs humming the Jobim and came upstairs humming the Chopin. But the song O'Riley is playing is a Radiohead song called "Exit Music From a Film."

Watching Radiohead lastnight, I did not come away with anything spiritually. (Though I did like the marching-band touches: the snare drums, the trombones.) But I like what O'Riley does, playing their songs. It helps rock fans get the idea that music is music. That just because they like Radiohead does not mean they will not like Mozart too. There is no conflict! You are allowed to like both.

Here is a picture of Christopher O'Riley. I interviewed him once on the phone but I have no memory of it. It is funny how now matter how prepared you are, some people you click with and some you don't. Well, there are a lot of other factors at work too: what kind of day you are having, what kind of day the other person is having, how much sleep both of you got, etc. Any one of those variables could explain why my conversation with O'Riley was unmemorable.

It could not have been me! That is for sure.

Here is a picture of Christopher O'Riley.

Wow, you know who he looks a lot like? Our old friend Stephen Hough!

Who, in turn, looks like our friend Ivan Ilic.

What is with all these pianists these days looking alike? Well, they are all nice-looking gentlemen. Can't complain.

Back to Christopher O'Riley: The good news is, he is in Pennario's address book so I might try giving him a call again, what the heck. That is what I do sometimes when I find people in Pennario's address book.

I am bold and brazen.

1 comment:

  1. Doesnt Ivan Illic look like a pre-meltdown Joaquim Phoenix?