JIM BRICKMAN, Thursday, Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah; additional performance tonight, 8 p.m. (581-7100)
Salt Lake City loves Jim Brickman, and the feeling is mutual. The reception he gets here is always enthusiastic and that's why Brickman chose Salt Lake for his Valentine's Day show.
Calling Salt Lake his "second home," he lived up to his self-proclaimed title of "America's greatest romantic solo pianist" Thursday night. Joined by vocalist Anne Cochran and fiddler David Klinkenberg, Brickman charmed with audience favorites and trademark humor.
Brickman opened the evening playing solo with "Waterfall," "Paradise" and "Escape." He also sang "The Love I Found in You," a piece he premiered in Salt Lake on an earlier visit.
Klinkenberg, who Brickman described as a "Riverdance meets Led Zepplin," joined him for "Timeless." The addition of the violin brought depth and texture to Brickman's music.
Cochran then joined them, completing the trio. Cochran and Brickman went to high school together in Cleveland, Ohio, and have been performing together ever since.
Cochran's renditions of "Never Alone" and "After All These Years," were rich and heartfelt. Cochran's voice was pure and her interpretation straightforward and lovely.
A compilation of love songs closed the first half, following a marriage proposal by a member of the audience. Jen told Jack "yes" as she shoved him back to their seats.
Klinkenberg opened after intermission with a solo Celtic number that had the audience tapping its feet and clapping along.
Brickman joined Klinkenberg halfway throughout "Amazing Grace." What started as a simple, slow piece morphed into "Joyful, Joyful" and then back into a bluesy version of "Grace." Cochran then joined Brickman for "The Gift."
Brickman's question and answer session was one of the night's highlights with Cochran taking center stage. Her mispronunciation of city names like wivic (West Valley City) and lehee (Lehi) were hilarious. As was her imitation of Brickman's flourish that he used at the end of every song.
Brickman followed the Q&A with "If You Believe," a simple, thoughtful work he wrote in based on positive ideas and connecting with people.
A beautiful medley of Disney favorites featuring bits from "Beauty and the Beast," "Someday My Prince Will Come," "Color of the Wind" and "When You Wish Upon a Star" was familiar but fuller as Brickman added depth to the music, making it his own.
The night ended with the very appropriate "Valentine." Brickman billed the night as one full of romantic music and he delivered just that.