Keys of Time–My Favorite Piano, Volume I is a beautiful collection of ten piano solos by Catholic artist, John-Paul Kaplan. One look at the song list and it is clear that this is not a “background CD” for a reconciliation service. This is a collection of mostly secular standards, including “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Chariots of Fire,” and “Rainbow Connection,” with three original pieces by Kaplan.
I love piano music myself, though admittedly, I often use it for background. Whereas Keys of Time could be used for that purpose, it deserves a closer listen. Only through a closer listen will one hear Kaplan’s more clever arrangements. Check out the opening track, “Night and Day,” where the song itself contains “night and day” differences in style. And a little “moonlight” thrown in for good measure is a nice touch. There’s also “I’ve Got Rhythm,” which during the first part of the song had me asking, “well, does he?” By the end of the song, there is no question: Kaplan has both rhythm and pizzazz.
I could have done without “Chariots of Fire,” but at 1:52 running time, it’s mostly harmless. It’s a great Vangelis melody, but sadly, the Oscar-winning film has been parodied so many times, it’s hard not to think of those parodies when one hears the song. I also don’t think it is his strongest arrangement. To me, it sounds a little like Kaplan needed a tenth song for a complete CD, so he chose this one.
I would have preferred that Kaplan put some more of his own material on Keys of Time, because those are my favorite tracks. But, then again, the title says that this is his favorite piano, not mine. How can you argue with “his favorite”? However, the title also says that this is “Volume I.” So I hope that his “favorites” for Volume II are more of his own pieces, because they would probably also be my favorites.
The CD is available from CDbaby at www.cdbaby.com/cd/jpkaplan2.
Reviewed by Fr. Kent O’Connor
Copyright 2009 Susan Bailey and Grapevine