Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

388

Steven Schoenberg: Steven Schoenberg Live: An Improvisational Journey

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Like the face of Helen launching a thousand ships, for better or worse, Keith Jarrett's 1975 Koln Concert (ECM) inspired a like number of improvisational piano recitals (half of which were ultimately Jarrett's own) and the entire genre of "New Age" solo piano music. This spontaneous creativity is, at best an inspiration, and at worst, a bore.

It is emphasized in jazz that musicians must be accomplished on their instruments and able to fully integrate all they know spontaneously. And that is with, typically at least, a starting point. What pianist and spontaneous composer Steven Schoenberg does in his own "interactive" An Improvisational Journey is start a piece with an eye blink, a deep breath, and a long, integral, creative exhalation with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Schoenberg summons an impressive knowledge of American music to produce these nine improvisations, each orbiting a different idea. "Day and Night" is a rumination reminiscent of George Winston's grand prairie pieces where all musical grammar is simple and straightforward. Not one dissonant turn is left without resolution. "After Dark" is a blues fantasy that travels from a smoky Chicago nightclub to a humid Arkansas African Methodist Episcopal Church sanctuary to a nervous tightrope completed with a killer left hand.

"In the Darkness" is recorded as titled, in the dark. Here Schoenberg strays well beyond the fixed and durable phrasing of the American Songbook, achieving something like a hip John Fields nocturne. "January Blues" skirts the old 12 bars without ever fully embracing them. There is a whole lot of church here, as well as boogie-woogie. "Notes" is cobbled together from a note request from the audience. Schoenberg does his best Boulez on a brief asymmetric motif.

Track Listing: Day and Night; After Dark; Purple Sky; In the Darkness; The January Blues; Notes; Father and Son; A Time for Peace; American Encore.

Personnel: Steven Schoenberg: piano.

Title: Steven Schoenberg Live: An Improvisational Journey | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Quabbin Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Up North" CD/LP/Track Review Up North
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 17, 2017
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Lattice" CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Pathways" CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read "EE-YA-GI (Stories)" CD/LP/Track Review EE-YA-GI (Stories)
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 13, 2017