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  • Jonathan Widran

MICHAELA STEINHAUER, Changes and Choices

Fusing a lyrical and melodic jazz-inflected showtune sensibility with whimsical free-form vocal and instrumental improvising, German born, New York based composer/lyricist and singer Michaela Steinhauer joins forces with her longtime trio of free jazz stalwarts (alto saxophonist Alexey Kruglov and pianist Roman Stolyar) to create Changes and Choices, a fascinating conceptual, narrative driven album whose sense of character and dramatic storytelling would translate beautifully to a stage presentation.

Sometimes whispering, oft times sensually musing or engaging in high powered bursts of raw, unbridled emotion, Michaela weaves a fascinating story of a world-wise woman reminiscing about the past, releasing difficult memories and emotions on a turbulent but ultimately rewarding journey towards acceptance and inner peace.

From the opening graces of the ultimately highly energized opening statement “Me, myself and I” through the alternately cheery and reflective “She smiles,” the colorful stops along the way include the soulful “Why is she still here,” some stark and thoughtful “Choices” and a spirited time of “Moving.” Though the focus is most often on Steinhauer’s storytelling gifts, the melodic, improvisational and sometimes avant-garde solos by Kruglov and Stolyar add rich, detailed, heartfelt textures that underscore the compelling story.


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