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Album Review: Soul Story: Improvisations
Peter Kater
Cover image of the album Soul Story: Improvisations by Peter Kater
Soul Story: Improvisations
Peter Kater
2022 / Point of Light Records
43 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
In a varied career that has produced more than 70 albums, the music for more than 100 television and film productions, and so much more, pianist/composer Peter Kater graces us with Soul Story: Improvisations, a collection of nine of his favorite "Piano Readings." In a interview we did in 2017, Peter explained this process: "I do these things that some people call 'soul readings' where someone comes over to my home and we chat for a while about real things like what’s going on in their lives, the big stuff, self work, healing, relationships, successes, challenges and obstacles, insecurities, strengths etc. Then I play for them while they lie under my piano. I ...usually wind up playing for 15 - 25 minutes... and I record it. It’s fascinating how each person affects my playing and how the connection we share seriously influences what I play on the piano. I’m improvising. Intuiting...Very intimate stuff."

Something of a follow-up to Peter's 2017 Dancing On Water, which won the Grammy Award for that year, the nine solo piano improvisations on Soul Story express an intimacy and connection that transcends words, flowing effortlessly from one soul to another. Even the cover artwork by Jeff Burne Design is stunning, making this whole project something very special inside and out. It is worth mentioning that Peter also won the Grammy Award for his 2019 Wings and has been nominated fourteen times. I'll be very surprised if Soul Story doesn't add a number of awards to his very impressive list of career achievements. On the other hand, while recognition is wonderful, it's the music itself as well as the artistry that created it that are the most important, and Soul Story is breathtaking.

Soul Story: Improvisations begins with "Starry Night," a very open, ambient piece that expresses the beautiful calm of a peaceful night and the wonder of looking up at a sky full of stars. "Touch of Rain" hints at melancholy and a bit of turbulence, and the music is expressed with grace, acceptance and empathy. "The Path Is Clear" is bolder, expressing confidence and resolve, yet pulling back here and there to be certain. Love this one! "Find Me" begins very quietly, almost timidly, and seems to be searching - or waiting to be found. Very gradually, it seems to gain confidence as the music slowly builds and becomes stronger and more positive - a fascinating journey! The title track is one of the most powerfully emotional pieces in the collection and feels very much like someone baring his or her heart and soul, and the catharsis and healing that follow. This one deserves a very big "WOW!" The album comes to a close with the very poignant "United," a piece that invites a variety of interpretations as it expresses deep emotions that could mean something different to other listeners. That's one of the wonders of instrumental music - especially improvised instrumental music. Thoughts and feelings flow from the creator of the music, reaching into the heart and soul of the listener who relates to it according to his or her own experience and emotional state. That is the true essence of art. Thank you for that profound reminder, Peter Kater!

Soul Story: Improvisations is available from Amazon and Apple/iTunes as well as many streaming sites including Spotify. Very highly recommended!!!
July 17, 2022
More reviews of Peter Kater albums
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