Pianist William Joseph has dedicated the past few decades of his life to honing his musical talents with the aid of Russian concert pianist Stela Saperstein. In 2003 at the Mohammed Ali Fight Night Charity in his hometown, Phoenix, AZ, William met David Foster who has since signed him to 143 Records and is currently co-producing William's debut album. The best description of this exciting young artist comes from William himself: "Think classical pop, cinematic orchestrations over cool programming."
The pop charts were once regularly haunted by the melodramatic musings of pianists like Liberace, Ferrante and Teicher and Roger Williams, a sensibility that eventually gave way to the more New Age-y affectations of George Winston and his fellow Wave-format-friendly ivory ticklers. But if producer David Foster has his way, young Phoenix native William Joseph will do for instrumental piano music what the Foster-mentored Josh Groban, Michal Buble and Renee Olstead have done for classical crossover and crooner revivalism. Joseph is blessed with a forceful technique and an ear for drama (he composed the theme for his hometown NHL Phoenix Coyotes when just a teen) that recalls Williams in his prime, and approaches his material with a kitsch-be-damned, crowd-pleasing verve that occasionally invokes 1970s' prog-rock excesses (the artist's own title track and "Piano Fantasy") without apology. Bolstered by Foster's usual back-row-of -the-balcony production sensibility, Joseph tackles everything from the classics ("Ave Maria," "Eternal"'s reworking of Chopin) to Led Zeppelin (a version of "Kashmir" that's as over-the-top as the original), Kansas (vocalist Garou guests on the bathos-drenched "Dust in the Wind") and even Muse ("Butterflies and Hurricanes" as MOR melodrama) with supreme confidence, if considerably less subtlety. --Jerry McCulley