Joanna Weinberg: The Piano Diaries

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Joanna Weinberg: The Piano Diaries Joanna Weinberg's The Piano Diaries is not exactly jazz, but it is also not exactly not jazz. Intended for the small stage—appropriate, given her work in several musicals and one-woman shows—the singer/composer's music lives in that overlap between cabaret and jazz. Relocating from South Africa to Sydney, Australia in 1997, the London-born Weinberg is a true cosmopolitan, despite still sounding curiously homespun. All of this makes for an interesting and heady mix of musical and lyrical creativity.

The Piano Diaries' music and instrumentation take a backseat to Weinberg's clever and intelligent lyrics by necessity, but the music remains appropriate. Rafael Nazario's Beatle-esque piano runs over the bouncy melody of "Benjamin and Penelop," while saxophonist Mark Ginsburg's soprano suggests a cross between Fiddler on the Roof with Blade Runner on the Eastern European-flavored "Winds of Fear." Weinberg's accompanists are just assertive enough to give these songs a hooked edge ready to implant themselves into an internal iPod for days after hearing.

But again, it is Weinberg's lyrics that are queen here, ruling the funny bone benevolently. Consistently infusing her lyrics with whimsy and fun, there's the goofy/sexy stance of "Innocence":

So come to me darling
with your pale wounded feet
we'll get out of the spotlights
and we'll make love in the middle of George Street.

Weinberg creates a similar plight on "Benjamin and Penelope":

Benjamin and Penelope
played in the nude
and covered the music with food
and got in the mood.

She weaves pure poetry in "Witness" with:

You walk a mile, in broken shoes

to meet a man, who has forgotten

the pavement cracks, the weeds begin

and I am there to tend your garden.

That is smacking good writing, whatever the meaning.

Weinberg's music will not be mistaken for Kurt Weill or Bertoldt Brecht, and Weinberg is neither Marlene Dietrich nor Ute Lemper. She is more effervescent and bright than these dower Germans, whose charm emanated from the black comedy of Wiemar Berlin song houses. Weinberg's is more the cabaret of the 21st Century: fairly well-scrubbed and simple—honesty with humor.

Track Listing: Freckled Angels; Innocence; Daughters of the Empire; The Artists are Leaving; Benjamin and Penelope; The Winds of Fear; Wide Open Eyes; Beautiful Old Man; Witness; Mama Buy Your Baby a Piano; Trophy Wife; The Piano at the Cabaret.

Personnel: Joanna Weinberg: vocals; Rafael Nazario: keyboards; Kate Adams: cello; Mark Ginsburg: soprano and tenor saxophones, flute; Martijn Hadders: guitar; Jonathan Zwartz: bass; Simon Fishburn: drums; Blair Greenberg: percussion.

Title: The Piano Diaries | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature CD/LP/Track Review The Better Angels of Our Nature
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 20, 2017
Read What Brought You Here? CD/LP/Track Review What Brought You Here?
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 20, 2017
Read My Head Is Listening CD/LP/Track Review My Head Is Listening
by John Sharpe
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Passin' Thru CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Ugly Beauty CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet CD/LP/Track Review Relaxin’ With the Miles Davis Quintet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "Invitation" CD/LP/Track Review Invitation
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Risc" CD/LP/Track Review Risc
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 7, 2017
Read "Streams" CD/LP/Track Review Streams
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 2, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.