Martin Katz, pianist-accompanist-collaborator extraordinaire, has a new book out! And thanks to Amazon.com, it arrived in my mailbox last week! I am thrilled to be the new owner of The Complete Collaborator: The Pianist as Partner and am trying to savour it bit by bit rather than devour it in a single sitting as I am apt to do. The book has a companion website where you can download and stream the musical examples. Ingenious! It's like taking an at-home accompanying course (or should I say "collaborative piano course," as Katz would?). The first chapter discusses the role of the collaborative pianist and how the title of "accompanist" has morphed (reminding me of the constant shifts in education jargon concerning "learning disabled-special education-special needs students"). He then moves into chapter two with a discussion of breathing and singing. My take-away? '...the only truly guaranteed way for the pianist to categorize breathing situations and to know how to behave, is - you guessed it - singing! Your own singing! It is always the surefire passport to your most musical decisions." (page 20) I think I was given that advice once upon a time, but what a great reminder, that to truly be able to collaborate effectively, a pianist should be able to sing and play the music at the same time. Breathing "with the singer" then becomes second nature and allows the music to flow naturally.