Serendipitous Piano









 | Perfect piano discovered by accident 

OK, my self-imposed month of not blogging has ended…

Today, a story of serendipity, about one of those little gifts life hands you when you least expect it…

I was listening to “The Rant” a few weeks ago, with The Herald’s Billy, Gordon and Jon somehow getting on the subject of Keith Olberman and MSNBC. Jon was asking how Olberman made the jump from being a sportscaster at ESPN to an ultra-liberal bigmouth at MSNBC. The gang didn’t have an explanation, but I’d recently read a long profile of the Bush-hating Olberman in The New Yorker magazine and later told Billy about it, suggesting he read it. The piece, I said, would explain Olberman’s odd, sad transformation.

A couple of weeks later I remembered, out of the blue, that I’d told Billy I’d find the story for him. I hadn’t, so I went to the magazine’s website to locate the story for him and, along the way, bumped into another piece about a man stuck on an elevator in New York City’s McGraw-Hill building in 1999 for 41 hours. It happened to be on the same page on the website as the Olberman piece. Imagine that. It was a fascinating story. Even more fascinating was a time-lapse video of the man’s experience. You can see the video here.

If you watch the video, you can’t help but be transfixed by the music. It was mesmerizing. I love good piano solo music, a taste acquired from my late father. Dad loved classical music (I don’t) but along the way he went through a period where he listened to a lot of what was then called “new age” music. George Winston and other artists from the Windham Hill label were staples of his collection, and soon parts of mine. My first date with the former Lee Ann Knight included me cooking her a steak dinner. We sauteed mushrooms together in the kitchen of my little apartment with George Winston’s “Winter Into Spring” playing in the background. It must have made an impression…we celebrated the 20th anniversary of that night earlier this summer, as well as 18 years of marriage and three children…

At any rate, the music accompanying the video was credited to Jennifer Haines. It was incredible music, as good as Winston’s best stuff. I’ve never found anything that approached the beauty and mood of Winston’s music until I heard this. Much to my pleasure, the album – “The Storm Begins” – was available on iTunes. I downloaded it and have listened to parts of it every day since. It’s simply amazing piano, and to think…if it weren’t for The Rant, Keith Olberman and the guy getting stuck in the elevator, I never would have heard it, or of Jennifer Haines, or the rest of this incredible album.

You can go to Jennifer’s website here and listen to samples of her work. According to her MySpace page, she’s getting ready to release an album of hymns called “Blessed Assurance.” The release date is…as it turns out…today. I can’t wait…


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