2003 / Point Of Light
Review by Michael Debbage
At first glance, this compilation appears to be a very safe route of rehashing the past while buying some time to prepare for a new album of material. The only truth in that opening statement is that this is a compilation but it is far from a safe route. Even for his faithful followers, this deja vu of Peter Kater presents the listener with a radically stripped down performance of his past glories on the grand piano with absolutely no additional instrumental embellishments. The most prominent aspect of this production is the precision and execution of this very talented pianist that breathes new life into an already impressive back catalog.
Kater has always been well known for his eccentric genre wandering thus the more mainstream yet outstanding 2002 project Inner Works was refreshing. It worked the magic of integrating solo renditions with bold orchestration and quartet trimmings. Meanwhile, Piano emphasizes the former and presents an almost recital style that is only successful due to the artist's spot on execution and workmanship. Kater digs as far back as 1983 with his opening track "Anthem" that has been a long time favorite of his past catalog. However, the reworking of the more recent "River" from the prior album stands very nicely next to his more established compositions.
Obviously, Kater's continued genre wanderlust is best reflected by the contrast of the simple bittersweet melody of "Summer's Innocence" when placed alongside the complex and central piece found on "Trilogy." The latter has an almost classic approach that is presented in three separate movements within its seven-minute frame. The same can be said for the majestic "Ascent" that has Kater bouncing up and down the keys. The performance is nothing short of outstanding that, at times beckons the question, is this the performance of just one artist, but then again, this is Peter Kater.
No compilation would be complete without the mystical and epic "Fool & The Hummingbird." The melancholy introduction is complimented by a sultry jazz bridge that almost returns at the end of the song; but not quite, teasing the listening to want even more. As for "Espresso," this song is nothing short of an utter grand piano work out that closes the album out in grand fashion (pun fully intended).
Alongside the more simplistic ballad "Days Past" and the joyous "Thanksgiving," this crystal clear production is further evidence that Peter Kater is comfortable in the skin of any genre. As a result, your appetite will have been whetted with the anticipation of being "katered" to a full course of new material next time around.
March 3, 2003
Review by Kathy Parsons