Title - 'Changes & Choices'
Artist - Michaela Steinhauer
If you are not in the know, the German-born singer/songwriter/composer Michaela (Misha) Steinhauer has lived most of her musical life in the US and Russia where she studied jazz vocals, performed, toured and recorded 8 CDs with such renowned jazz greats like Wallace Roney, Orrin Evans, Hendrik Meurkens, Roman Stolyar, Aleksey Kruglov and many others.
In 2018 she moved back to Germany and by the time she hit her mid-teens, Misha had delved into piano studies, sung in church and school choirs, and co-founded her first band.
She studied business education in Mainz and graduated certified teacher for commercial subjects, meanwhile taking vocal lessons and subsequently moved to Moscow, studied jazz vocals (full course) at College Konsort and started performing.
Studying and gigging throughout Europe Steinhauer proved herself an enormously versatile singer, using her nimble, adventurous, spiritual but above all tender voice not only to communicate lyrics and melodies but as an instrument in its own right.
2014 Misha made the move to the U.S. to attend Queens College, where she earned her Master’s degree in Jazz Studies in 2016.
Throughout her career, the vocalist has gained recognition for her original songs, as well as for applying her unique point of view to her arrangements of jazz standards and more.
In addition to her beloved jazz, her broad repertoire has encompassed standards, pop hits, traditional hymns, and 1930s-vintage German tunes.
Steinhauer has demonstrated a knack for taking the familiar and making it new; well-worn material and subjects take on a new life and image, thanks to her fertile musical and lyrical imagination.
Her brand new album, Changes & Choices (out January 15th, 2021) - featuring Roman Stolyar on piano and Alexey Kruglov on sax - brings forth nine tracks, all of them incorporating exquisite vocals alongside wondrous storylines and music.
1. 'Me, Myself and I'
2. 'Why Is She Still Here'
3. 'She's Dancing'
5. 'Abandoned Chapel'
7. 'Nothing New Under The Sun'
8. 'The Other Day'
9. 'She Smiles'
On an album where Steinhauer and her friends have been been together
for year, their collective musical freedom and inbred energy brings forth an incredible vibrant beauty here, within each and every track.
Opening with the beautiful storytelling ambiance of 'Me, Myself and I,' that's backed seamlessly by the lush delivery of both 'Why Is She Still Here' and more storytelling found within the palyful 'She's Dancing,' with the noticeably restrained magnificence of 'Choices' following along just perfectly.
With the transitions between styles from mainstream to almost classical, inclusive of inspiring bouts of freestyle improvisation, all incorporating ease and elegance throughout, the new album - which consists of nine originals which are connected through a story and underlying free tonal improvisations - continues onward with the melodic 'Abandoned Chapel,' a stunning track where the soft aesthetics and lush soundscapes of Ivory Stone elegantly contribute.
This highly impressive album rounds out with the upbeat and perky 'Moving,' the more forthright 'Nothing New Under The Sun,' closing on the elegantly soaring 'The Other Day,' and then the rhythmically upbeat 'She Smiles.'
In closing, I would also like to make you aware that the cover artwork was painted by Ivory Stone, with the design done by Hanna Steinhauer.
Michaela Steinhauer @ Instagram
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Michaela Steinhauer @ Soundcloud