An improvisational piano performance can be akin to an abstract painting. Some folks just won’t get it. But what most folks consider an abstract painting is more than smears of paint on a canvas. A well-done abstract still has composition, texture, contrasts, and themes, though not necessarily with a recognizable point of image. Too often, musicians, good pianists, use an improvisational style as an excuse to merely peck at random keys with little thought of structure, or they find a structure that is a pattern with little passion. Just because the performance is improv doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have themes, timing, a sense of rhythm and perhaps, yes, even a melody. Steven Schoenberg may be making it up as he goes in his latest album, “An Improvisational Journey,” but even when he lets his fingers do the walking he remembers they have places on the keyboard they need to go. Schoenberg remembers the grace of timing, rhythm, and most of all melody. He can go off on a tangent without forgetting a song’s underlying theme. Schoenberg may have entered this concert not knowing where he was going, but he packed the essentials for the journey.
Dean Poling, The Valdosta Daily Times