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Album Review

By 2009, the term "new age" was long passé, but for the last 25 years, no artist has defined the deepest melodic and rhythmic heart of what can in the late 2000s be safely termed "pop classical instrumental" than multiple Grammy nominee, pianist Peter Kater, whose solo piano ventures, full ensemble dates, and collaborations with Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai are legendary in the field. On this exquisite, gracefully produced, yet emotionally powerful collection, he finds a wonderful new musical soulmate in famed guitarist Dominic Miller, whose mile-long all-star résumé is centered on his two decades in studio and on-stage as Sting's "right hand and my left hand." No doubt having Kenny Loggins on tracks like the tender, almost whispery "In Her Eyes" is a selling point for pop fans only vaguely familiar with the principals, but Kater and Miller — who met while working on a film score the pianist was composing and recording — wisely resist the temptation to let the singer loose on a lead vocal. Instead, they choose to make their sensual piano-acoustic guitar tapestry the star, adding the singer's ethereal wordless vocals as a complement. They do the same on key hypnotic tracks like "What Lies Within," establishing their main melody and harmony lines before introducing the deeper and more soulful possibilities that come with the combination of Loggins' dreamy voice and Jaques Morelenbaum's haunting cello. Keeping with the title concept, and the idea of creating a recording that wasn't created in the light of day or the dark of night but only "in a dream," the overall mood of the set is captured by meditative pieces like "Gut Feeling" and "Hand in Hand." But the piece that best defines the joy Kater and Miller bring to their dynamic new venture is the more rhythmic, sweeping, and passionate "And We Danced," the first track they recorded for the album, which they describe as their joyful "getting to know you song." A truly astounding new moment in the careers of both artists, In a Dream lives up to its name by transporting the listener to a lovely neverland of fresh and melodic sonic possibilities. There's no way fans of either will allow them to let this be a one-time collaboration.

Customer Reviews

From MainlyPiano

"In A Dream" is the Grammy-nominated release from pianist Peter Kater and British guitarist Dominic Miller. Kater has been a long-time fan of Miller’s music and felt it would be a “dream come true” to do an album with him. The two worked on some film music together, and Miller suggested that they collaborate on an album, hence the title. A blend of composed music and improvisation, the music is fresh, soothing, and elegantly beautiful. Adding to the magic is the soulful cello work of Jaques Morelenbaum and the wordless vocals of Kenny Loggins. As prolific as Peter Kater is, he never seems to miss the mark, and this CD could (and should) easily earn him the Grammy prize.

"In A Dream" begins with the title track and Miller soloing on the first verse, setting the soft-spoken, reflective mood of the album. The piano and guitar interaction is stunning in its effortless perfection. “Time Will Tell” is a gorgeous ballad that again weaves guitar and piano into a single entity with no one trying to be the “star,” letting the music itself stand in the spotlight. “What Lies Within” introduces the cello and layered vocals, creating an ethereal quartet. “And We Danced” picks up the tempo a bit with lighthearted grace and a gentle energy. “Close To You” is almost ambient with its quiet tenderness. Piano, guitar, and vocals are perfect together. “In Her Eyes” is like a peaceful whisper - tranquil and warm. “Gut Feeling” is one of Miller’s compositions - another piece where the two artists became one as the music evolved. “Clockwork” is a somewhat more abstract and energetic trio for piano, guitar, and cello - sparkling and slightly edgy, I love it! “Folk Story” closes the CD with another Miller composition, this one recorded in one take - amazing! The cello, piano, and guitar are seamless and effortless, ending the wonderful album with a gentle sigh.

"In A Dream" is another masterpiece from Peter Kater, and a stunning debut collaboration with Dominic Miller and company. We’re hoping it’s the first of a series! Very highly recommended!


Born: Munich, Germany

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Pianist/composer Peter Kater is known for his scores for television, film, and theater, as well as for his own recordings of light jazz and new age music. Born in Germany, Kater moved from Munich to New Jersey when he was four. He began piano lessons three years later and studied classical music until taking up rock & roll in his early teens. At the age of 18, Kater moved to Boulder, CO, where he played improvised music and lived for over a decade before moving to rural Virginia, where he built Earth...
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In a Dream, Peter Kater
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