Steven Schoenberg

Reviews about Steven's Piano Improvisations


He dodges. He weaves. He’s playful. He’s dissonant. He evokes a range of American piano music and pianists, from Fess to Fats. He plays stride. He plays blues. He never allows his ideas to trap him in corners that he can’t think and/or play his way out of. Refined, graceful, charming–all describe what Massachusetts-based composer-pianist Steven Schoenberg evokes on this impressive live set. [Live: An Improvisational Journey]
- Robert Baird, Stereophile, October 2010

Pianist Steven Schoenberg is actually listed as a "classical" pianist, but his solo recording work is definitely in the jazz vein. This recording of a concert from 2006 finds him giving spontaneous improvisations, but where he differs from other pianists (who shall remain nameless, but whose name rhymes with ferret) who have gone down this road is that Schoenberg gives off a feeling that he's trying to communicate with the audience, making the music a two way street. "Notes," for example has Schoenberg creating a tune from the notes shouted out from the audience, while "In The Darkness" is performed with all of the lights of the theatre turned off. All of this would be gimmickry if the music weren't any good, but Schoenberg has a melodious touch on the piano, but isn't afraid to go from ethereal sounds to boogie woogie on a dime. All of the tunes keep there interest after repeated hearings (another difference from the other artist), and show a guilelessness on songs like "Day and Night" and "Purple Sky" that is refreshing.
- George W. Harris, jazzweekly.com

I think Steven's music is some of the most incomparably beautiful music I've ever heard. When I listen, I am transported . . . to someplace very peaceful. If I were to be banished to an island and could take music, his would be among what I'd choose . . . and if there were only two choices, Schoenberg would be one!
- Lee Thornton, Senior Host, Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, National Public Radio

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.
- C. Michael Bailey, Senior Contributor, All About Jazz

Why this guy isn't a household name is beyond me. Steven Schoenberg gives you everything you ask for in a solo, improvisational jazz piano album - music with passion, fury, creativity, imagination, and heart... Steven Schoenberg has a lush, wonderful musical vision that's hard to walk away from. He creates a multilayered, mind-bending sound. He closes out with his take on two Great American Songbook classics, "A Time for Peace" and "An American Encore."
- Tom Henry, toledoblade.com

Steven Schoenberg's kaleidoscopic piano speaks with a uniquely American voice. His flowing compositions, laced with stride, folk, modern jazz, and impressionistic styles, burst open into full-scale musical dioramas.
- Tom Regan, Prairie Public Radio

Schoenberg's Three Days in May (Quabbin Records) is worth the effort. It's an eloquent, lush, and flowing series of improvisations that are spliced together to form sequential states of mind. He claims that the performances are completely spontaneous, and if that's so, they are within strict melodic and rhythmic frameworks.
- DownBeat Magazine

Schoenberg performs spontaneously improvised works and yet each one has the polish, sophistication, and technical mastery of a complex piece of music.
- David Sokol, Music Editor, Advocate Newspapers

More than a small musical miracle occurred in Amherst College's Buckley Recital Hall last night. Steven Schoenberg held more than 500 people spellbound for 90 minutes with a mix of artistry and understated spirituality. Schoenberg's concert wove together styles as different as classical, popular, and blues into a highly original fabric that is warmly familiar. His versatility and extraordinary musicianship allow him to evoke classical music one minute and the spirit of an off-Broadway passion play the next.
- Rob Okun, Daily Hampshire Gazette

Schoenberg is a bright composer, and his sparkling album Pianoworks is almost 45 minutes of Schoenberg's solo improvisations, most of them from a concert he gave at Amherst College. He's a lyrical player with a gift for delicate interlocking melodies and extended single-note runs high up the keyboard.
- Ray Murphy, Boston Globe

A concert by Steven Schoenberg is like almost nothing else in music. Others can improvise in performance, but very few can improvise over so wide a range of musical forms as those with which Schoenberg is in touch.
- John Stifler, Hampshire Life

Steven Schoenberg, a pianist with a staunch commitment to pure improvisation, performs heartfelt solo pieces that range from the bluesy to the rhapsodic.
- Time Out New York