Elisabeth Lohninger | Songs of Love and Destruction

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Songs of Love and Destruction

by Elisabeth Lohninger

“I have lived with the idea for this album for many years. To me, love and destruction are intimately connected. Each of these songs represents an idea of how we love, lose love, are obsessive, desperate, happy, wise, or foolish in the context of love."
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
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  Song Share Time Download
1. River
4:31 $0.99
2. Save Me
5:40 $0.99
3. Si Me Quieres
6:02 $0.99
4. Here There and Everywhere
5:00 $0.99
5. Alone Together
6:42 $0.99
6. With Every Breath I Take
5:24 $0.99
7. Away And Away Again
6:07 $0.99
8. La Puerta
5:02 $0.99
9. I Fall In Love Too Easily
4:12 $0.99
10. No Moon At All
3:37 $0.99
11. A Little Bit Tricky
3:27 $0.99
12. If i Should Lose You
5:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In a career that has taken her from the slopes of the Austrian alps, where she sang folk songs as a young girl, to jazz clubs, concert halls and the stages of international jazz festivals, vocalist Elisabeth Lohninger has proven herself to be a powerful and elusive talent. On her latest CD, Songs of Love and Destruction (September 1st, 2010 Lofish Music), she once again charms listeners with her intimate delivery and insight into a song’s lyrics. Joining her is an all-star cast of jazz talents that includes pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Evan Gregor, and drummer Jordan Perlson, along with special guests trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, and violinist Christian Howes. Drawing on her love of pop music, as well as jazz and her own originals, she has crafted an understated, but deeply emotional album that looks at love, as one of her favorite singer-songwriters puts it, “from both sides now.”

“I have lived with the idea for this album for many years,” Lohninger says. “To me, love and destruction are intimately connected. I find that love in the modern sense is a very fragile concept that leads us to often destroy that which we love most dearly. Many times, I believe that it is our fear of happiness, lack of self-knowledge and acceptance that leads us down the destructive route. Sometimes in intimate relationships, once we have found what we think we are looking for, we tend to turn around and look for what might be wrong with it. We can also fall into this deeply romanticized idea of what love is, an idea that has been passed down for generations—the romantic notions of the “bride in white” or “living happily ever after”—and we get trapped in roles that aren’t honest and true. I chose the songs with the title in mind, each one of them representing an idea of how we love, lose love, are obsessive, desperate, happy, wise, or foolish in the context of love.”

Nothing seems to come between Lohninger and a song. Her clear, warm alto voice gets directly at the heart of the words with little embellishment, but a great deal of sincerity and subtlety. Her stylistic breadth and emotional depth allow her to inhabit songs embracing a wide range of form and feeling. She handles the trembling apprehension and hope of K.D. Lang’s “Save Me” and the vitality and strength of Latin-jazz flavored “La Puerta” as easily as the knowing irony of her original gospel-blues swinger, “A Little Bit Tricky,” or the self-lacerating despair of Joni Mitchell’s “River.” Always displaying exquisite control of her material, she can inflect notes and play with melody without concealing the beautiful melody beneath her understated artistry. The Beatles familiar “Here There and Everywhere” is transformed by a muscular Latin groove and Lohninger’s personal interpretation of the melody, but still retains its lilting lyricism. She takes fresh approaches to classics from the Great American Songbook, as well, with a Latin-tinged medium tempo arrangement of Dietz and Schwartz’s “Alone Together” and a devastating, emotionally exposed reading of “With Every Breath I Take” in duet with pianist Barth. Besides being a supremely personal interpreter of songs, Lohninger is also a graceful and focused improviser. Her solo on “Si Me Quieres” emerges from the heart of the melody and travels its own path.

She’s accompanied on the album by a first-rate rhythm section that provides inspirational support and creative solos of their own. Pianist Bruce Barth displays a special rapport with her on their duet version of “With Every Breath I Take,” and solos with lyrical abandon on “If I Should Lose You.” Bassist Gregor also provides empathic melodic underpinnings during his introductory duet with Lohninger on “I Fall in Love Too Easily.” Guest trumpeter Ingrid Jensen’s warm, delicate sound blends seamlessly with Lohninger’s voice on the singer’s “Away and Away Again.” Her trumpet solo adds a piercing beauty to “Save Me.” McCaslin provides extra power to “Here There and Everywhere” and “La Puerta,” on which his staccato phrases tap dance over Perlson’s Latin groove.

Growing up in a small Austrian mountain village (population 25), Lohninger started singing in school and church choirs. At the age of six, she joined her two sisters in what would become a nationally renowned vocal group specializing in the songs of her homeland. Driven by her musical curiosity, she soon ventured in other directions and studied classical music and jazz, finishing her studies with a Masters degree in music and English Language and Literature. In 1994, Lohninger relocated to New York and has released seven albums since then. Teaming up with pianist Walter Fischbacher to co-found the duo Perfect Roommates, she released Austrian LiedGood, a fusion of Austrian folk music and jazz. Her pop-soul album Alien Lovers, released in 2000 under the alias Tera, provides additional evidence of her stylistic versatility. In 2003, she and Fischbacher also recorded IF, an album of electronica chill-out tracks, which were featured extensively in the daytime drama One Life to Live. Her 2004 release Beneath Your Surface (Lofish Music) with fischbacher, Steve Doyle and Hari Ganglberger sonsisted mainly of her jazz originals as did the 2006 release The Only Way Out Is Up (Lofish), with her working trio of Fischbacher, bassist Chris Tarry, and drummer Jordan Perlson. “Nervy, fresh and somewhat recklessly, Elisabeth Lohninger … presents a thrilling, multi layered and emotionally charged album,” said Jazz Improv. “Drawing from stylistic influences as diverse as jazz, pop and drum & bass, Ms. Lohninger succeeds in creating a breathlessly suspenseful mood.”

Songs of Love and Destruction brings all of Lohninger’s experience in jazz and pop music into focus on her most emotionally complex and memorable album yet.



to write a review

Jordan Richardson

I Hear Sparks: Elisabeth Lohninger - Songs of Love and Destruction
Love and destruction frequently merge, tearing us apart from the inside before we’ve even noticed. That sentiment is a big part of what makes Elisabeth Lohninger’s gorgeous Songs of Love and Destruction such a profound piece of work. The record is deeply emotional, deeply significant and Lohninger’s vocal command and control floats this one through to the heavens.
Along with Lohninger’s vibrant vocals, she’s joined by a cast of jazz talents that include bassist Evan Gregor, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, violinist Christian Howes, drummer Jordan Perlson, pianist Bruce Barth, and, my personal favourite, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen.
“I have lived with the idea for this album for many years,” says Lohninger. “To me, love and destruction are intimately connected. I find that love in a modern sense is a very fragile concept that leads us to often destroy what we love most dearly.”
She’s right on that score. We’re told that modern relationships are fragile, reliant on gifts and trinkets to grease the wheels through the rough patches. But Lohninger doesn’t seem content with the myths, choosing instead to walk the line between love and destruction and tossing out the “deeply romanticized idea of what love is.”
The blend of music here is fantastic, with Lohninger not only floating effortlessly through Latin and traditional jazz numbers but engaging us with her utter authority as well. She’s both a vocal giant and a smoky club singer, keeping us guessing as she twists through classics from the Great American Songbook and playfully jumping into the smoky “Si Me Quieres” with a wink.
I’m nothing if not a k.d. lang nut, so hearing Lohninger’s rendition of “Save Me” was something else. The way the Austrian singer tackles the hesitant nature of the piece is marvellous, but it’s how she makes the song her own that really sinks this one in. Barth’s tender piano gives her a cushion on which she can feel secure and Lohninger’s care springs from that root. Beautiful stuff. And, of course, Jensen’s towering, sharp trumpet sure helps.
Lohninger grew up in an Austrian mountain village and began singing in school and church choirs. Since relocating to New York, she’s released seven albums.
Songs of Love and Destruction may be my first run-in with this tremendous talent, but I can assure you that it will not be my last. Missing out this vocal jazz conjuror would be, in my view, a mistake.

Sari N. Kent

Elizabeth Lohninger Songs of Love and Destruction
Austrian-born songstress Elizabeth Lohninger has a voice that manages to express somber emotions one minute and an energetic jazzy feeling the next. This description is most definitely evident on her latest album Songs of Love and Destruction.
The opening song, a cover of the Joni Mitchell classic, “River,” begins with soft, lilting piano from Bruce Barth with light percussion from Jordan Perlson in the background. Lyrics such as, “Putting up reindeer. Singing songs of joy and peace. Oh how I wish I had a river that I could skate away on...I made my baby cry...He loved me so naughty made me weak in the knees...So hard to handle. I’m selfish and I’m sad, I’ve gone and lost the best baby that I ever had…I made my baby say goodbye,” portray Lohninger’s feeling of utter shame that she was the reason her “baby” left her.
The second track “Save Me,” another cover, this one of a K.D Lang song, has singularly somber piano playing from Barth strewn throughout the intro along with the methodical and intense trumpet solo from guest trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and the intricate violin strumming of Christian Howes. On this song, listeners can hear the pleading ache in Lohninger’s voice as she implores her beloved to rescue her and be her protector with lyrics like, “Save me, save me from youth...Gracious and tame like love can be...Lead me upon, spoil me, spoil me with u...Watch over me with a mother’s eyes...Touching my world only to glide by...Save me, save me, save me.”
The third track “Si Me Quieres,” which means “If You Love Me” in English, picks up the pace of the album with wicked fast piano play from Barth along with sprightly percussion play by Perlson, melodic violin from Howes and sultry bass play by Evan Gregor. As the song progresses, Lohninger’s fiery vocals combined with the song’s fervent beat could make listeners drag the nearest person onto the dance floor to kick up their heels performing either the samba or the Cha cha cha.
In “With Every Breath I Take,” the sixth track on the album, Barth’s deliberate piano playing accompanies Lohninger’s distressed voice as she labors to articulate her heartache in words like, “There’s not a world when I open up my eyes...It’s never a surprise, soon as I awake thoughts of u arise with every breath I take. At any time or any place I close my eyes and see your face and I embracing you. If I only my dreams come true...You were the one who said forever from the start, and I’ve been drifting since you’ve gone...I’ve been going on knowing that my heart will break with every breath I take.” At times, the lyrics and the piano play swell together in perfect rhythm thereby showcasing Lohninger’s unabashed emotion making this the quintessential song above lost love.
With “La Puerta,” meaning “The Door,” Lohninger’s vocals return to a upbeat measure as swift piano, drum and percussion work and Donny McCaslin’s jazzy saxophone play makes this yet another track that listeners can move their hips to on the dance floor.
The album closes with “If I Should Lose You,” which begins with a mysterious yet enthusiastic intro where Howes’ violin strains, accompanied by brisk piano play, throbbing drum work and airy percussion play offset Lohninger’s lyrical passion as she belts out lyrics such as, “If I should lose you, stars would fall from the sky...With you beside the rose would bloom in the snow, with you beside me the winds of winter will blow. I gave you my love, and I’ve been living a dream, but living would seem in vain if I ever lost you.” In between Lohninger’s explanation of what her life would be like if she ever lost her mate, she mixes in some fast-paced vocal scatting that brings a cheery bend to a song about the “what if” of love.
In the end, Elizabeth Lohninger’s latest album, Songs of Love and Destruction, delivers just what its title implies. There are tracks about the artful postures of love and the happiness it can bring while other tracks speak of the aftermath of love gone astray and the wearying emotional baggage it leaves in its wake.

Christopher Loudon

Elisabeth Lohninger: Songs Of love And Destruction
From a tiny Austrian mountain village, Elisabeth Lohninger ventured forth to carve a serpentine musical path that began at age 6 in fork harmony with her two sisters and has since included pop, electronica and jazz in duo, trio and quartet settings. Now, seven albums into her chameleonic career, Lohninger shapes an adventurous but accessible session that ideally showcases her voice. Dark and dense as blackberries yet lustrous as pearls, it is a stunning instrument that deserves smart, sympathetic support. She gets it in spades, courtesy of pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Evan Gregor and drummer/percussionist Jordan Perlson, augmented on select tracks by saxophonist Donny McCaslin, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and violinist Christian Howes.
Led by Barth and McCaslin, she takes Lennon and McCartney's feathery "Here, There and Everywhere" and plunges it into evocatively menacing shadows. Similarly, she and Barth take Dietz and Schwartz's usually dreamy "Alone Together" and, riding a rocky Latin beat, fill it with wicked thrill. On "Save Me", Jensen's trumpet and Howes' violin interweave with Barth's piano to suggestively illustrate k.d. lang's lyric, escalating a gradual transformation from desolate black-and-white to warm, safe color. Gregor expertly establishes a barren landscape for "I Fall in Love Too Easily", and Howes ignites dazzling Gypsy fire beneath a fervent "No Moon at All".
Two original Lohninger compositions complete the heady mix: "Away and Away Again", propelled by Jensen, traces the heartache of physically and emotionally distanced lovers, while "A Little Bit Tricky", with its catchy barrelhouse bounce, echoes the word-smith slyness of Lorraine Feather.

C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz

Songs of Love and Destruction
Austrian-American Elisabeth Lohninger is emerging as a major creative force in jazz vocals. Her previous release, The Only Way Out is Up (Lofish, 2007), was well-received and displayed a talent both fully formed and evolving. Her first recording,Beneath The Surface (Lofish, 2004) was noted for the singer's "stylistic fluency and versatility."
Versatile might be the key operative in describing Lohninger. Polyglot in language and jazz styles, she is at home in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and, of course, German. She sings all languages in a beautifully accent-less, sensuously assured alto that commands the attention from beginning to end. She is as ready to perform an original composition as a time-honored standard, tossing both off with the same ease Goethe did verse. Her skill as a composer ranks among the best currently recording. All of this adds up to a fertile and certain creativity.
Lohninger's Songs of Love and Destruction is a chronological and cultural updating of what Theo Bleckmann was doing with his brilliantly conceivedBerlin: Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile (Winter & Winter, 2008). Where Bleckmann made a historic panorama of prewar Berlin with the music of Hanns Eisler, Bertolt Brecht, and Kurt Weill, Lohninger turns the panorama introspectively, assembling songs of love and loss from Tin Pan Alley and the Lost Generation to The Beatles and her own 21st Century musings.
Lohninger accomplishes this impressive feat with pianist Bruce Barth, BassistEvan Gregor, and drummer Jordan Perlson plus three very thoughtfully chosen guest artists. Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen blows muted on K.D. Lang's "Save Me" and flugelhorn the original "Away and Away Again." Her tone and playing is conversational, possessing an indefinable dimension not found in her male counterparts (regardless of what is thought politically correct). Jensen's dry tone is a comfortable match to Lohninger's sophisticated and sexy alto.
Violinist Christian Howes joins the singer on four pieces, principle among them MD Loynaz/Lohninger's "Si Me Quieres," which Howes also arranged for strings. Light and airy, the piece recalls a 1950s Havana breeze, Hemingway drinking Daiquiris at the Ambos Mundos bar, beneath waving ceiling fans. Barth's piquant piano, mixed with Howes' reedy fiddle, casts a powerful Caribbean spell. Tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin spices up the windy Beatles ballad "Here, There, and Everywhere" with his muscular, throaty horn.
Lohninger is generous with her fellow musicians, but shines like a diamond when she restricts herself to intimate formats. Cy Coleman's "With Every Breath I Take," accompanied only by Barth, is incandescent. "I Fall In Love Too Easily" could not be further from Chet Baker while still redolent of his Midwestern phrasing. In a reductionist trend that includes Lawrence Lebo andCynthia Felton, Lohninger draws every bit of creativity from her fine trio, spinning platinum suture for mending broken hearts.
"No Moon at All" recalls Le Quintette du Hot Club de France, on tour and appearing at the Cabaret Berlin circa 1930. Lohniger's complex "A Little Bit Tricky" is the disc highlight, swinging with a nuclear centrifugal momentum, the singer sardonic and delightful.
Track listing: River; Save Me; Si Me Quieres; Here, There, and Everywhere; Alone Together; With Every Breath I Take; Away and Away Again; La Puerta; I Fall in Love To Easily; No Moon At All; A Little Bit Tricky; If I Should Lose You.
Personnel: Elisabeth Lohninger: vocals, arrangements; Bruce Barth: piano; Evan Gregor: bass; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet, flugelhorn (2, 7); Christian Howes: violin (2, 3, 10, 12); Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone (4, 8).