“Learning about the body just got more exciting! Young children will discover how their bodies work as they read and sing along with fun and fact-filled songs.”
National Science Teachers’ Association and Children’s Book Council (NSTA-CBC) Outstanding Science Trade Book selection for 2006.
2006 Kid’s Radio Mania Family Favorite Awards, Best Album 1st Place Award
Parents’ Choice Recommended Award 2005
2005 Children’s Music Web Award Winner
Best Educational Recording for Young Children
Honorable Mention in 2005 International Songwriting Competition, Best Children’s Music Category
Best Children’s Books of 2006, Bank Street College
Featured on Weekend Edition with Scott Simon, NPR
PRAISE FOR MY BODYWORKS
“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
“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.”
C. Michael Bailey, Senior Contributor, All About Jazz
“Categorization is an anti-entropic effort to describe similar, but not equal, things for comparative reasons. So was my thinking when I began my review of pianist Steven Schoenberg’s recording Steven Schoenberg Live: An Improvisational Journey (Quabbin Records, 2009) with:
“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.”
This was my mostly failing attempt to provide potential listeners with an idea of what they were in for when they happened to spin Schoenberg’s disc beneath the magic laser. I never intended “new age” as a pejorative, only a descriptor to provide context. New age and ambient music have their place and I have enjoyed many recordings classified as such.
But the trend, particularly in jazz and other improvised music, has been for finer and finer “genre” granularity, music that defies ready categorization. That said, I will refrain from such in describing Schoenberg’s current recording Christmas Reimagined so inelegantly. Schoenberg takes on a repertoire so intolerant of poor presentation that lesser talents have clotted cut-out bins with their bathetic and often wholly contrived recordings. Not so with this recording.
What Schoenberg has accomplishes with Christmas Reimagined is a finely crafted history of piano performance using a sturdy, if unforgiving, body of songs as his vehicle. For instance, the opening “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is played with a Liszt left hand transcribing Schubert and a solid Bill Evans right, playing rhythmically crossways. “Carol of the Bells” is impressionistic and dynamically kinetic, with Schoenberg practicing a dramatic volume modulation. Here, Schoenberg approaches George Winston’s sublime December (Windom Hill, 1990).”
– C. Michael Bailey
“Pianist Steven Schoenberg, more than any other similar player, creates improvised interpretations of known music in such a way as to inform the listener while never falling into rote technical performance. He always provides something to listen for in old melodies. There is ample evidence of this on Schoenberg’s previous recordings: 2009’s Improvisational Journey (Quabbin Records) and Christmas Reimagined (Sonic Veil, 2014). For What’s Goin On: Solo Piano, the pianist chooses 11 selections from the last century (with an emphasis on the popular music of the late ’60s and early ’70s to have a deeper improvisational look at. Schoenberg infuses each improvisation with a personality equal to the original intention. He plays Paul Simon’s “The Sound of Silence” like a John Field Nocturne while taking “You are My Sunshine” into Roosevelt Sykes’ barrelhouse. “Here Comes the Sun” is full of nuts and berries while “Down by The Riverside/Peace Train” smell of a clapboard country church. This is a recording in the spirit of America!”
– Michael C. Bailey
“Schoenberg is a bright young 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 . . . On “Gesture,” Schoenberg develops a pretty but slight opening theme and works it up, thickening the textures a bit, varying the dynamics, dotting it with quick runs. At the beginning you’d hardly have thought the little theme could have endured all of the weight. And following “Gesture,” Schoenberg diverges into a piece called “Blue Rag” which isn’t so much a rag as a dirty boogie-woogie with a rolling eight-to-the-bar rhythm and an uplifting bluesy after-hours feeling.”
Ray Murphy, Boston Globe
“Not nearly as thorny (or windy) as Keith Jarrett and yet more challenging and wide-ranging than the circular improvisations that characterized what used to be called New Age music, western Massachusetts pianist Schoenberg hits the sweet spot on this self-produced live disc. Mixing cerebral, near-classical passages with forays into Broadway, jazz, blues and boogie, Schoenberg never stops thinking, as one idea swiftly leads him to another. But it’s his overarching lyricism that makes this journey feel emotional rather than technical. A captivating, meditative listen.”
Kevin R. Convey, Boston Herald
“This gem gets the kids hooked with good songwriting and music production and slips in the educational values. . .and the songs are great. The Schoenbergs help children understand the body. Accurate and fun facts fill My Bodyworks.”
Fred Kotch, Chicago Parent Magazine
“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.”
“A splendid book for all the senses. The illustrations are lively and delightful.”
– Eric Carle
“My Bodyworks makes learning about the human body fun. . .While all of the songs are a cinch to sing along with, the biggest crowd-pleaser will most likely be the matter-of-fact “Everyone Passes Gas,” an airy tutorial that is more tuneful than toot-ful.”
Moira McCormick, FamilyFun Magazine