Changes & Choices (2021)

  1. Me, myself and I
  2. Why is she still here
  3. She's dancing
  4. Choices
  5. Abandoned chapel (words and melody Ivory Stone)
  6. Moving
  7. Nothing new under the sun
  8. The other day
  9. She smiles

Changes & Choices ist ein Konzeptalbum, in dem die durch freie Improvisation und eine erzählte Geschichte verbundenen Lieder ein Drama aus Erinnerungen, Vergebung und den Fund inneren Friedens formen.

Michaela Steinhauer:Musik, Texte, Gesang und Erzählung, Roman Stolyar: Klavier, Alexey Kruglov: Alt Sax. Aufgenommen, gemischt und gemastert  Mosfilm Music Recording Studio Nr.1, Moscow.

About Changes & Choices:

Dick Metcalf in Contemporary Fusion Reviews

... amazing interchanges between the sax and piano, woven very nicely in, under, around and through Michaela’s alive and “on” storytelling... I give Michaela and her partners a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) score of 4.98…

Dodie Miller-Gould on Lemonwire

... The songs take audiences on a journey of emotions and personal growth: two things that modern audiences can identify with, especially in the age of COVID-19. Steinhauer’s work reminds audiences how important it is to remain in touch with who they are and what they seek... An emotional journey that pays off for the listener.

Jonathan Widran on jwvibe

Fusing a lyrical and melodic jazz-inflected showtune sensibility with whimsical free-form vocal and instrumental improvising, German born, composer/lyricist and singer Michaela Steinhauer joins forces with her longtime trio of free jazz stalwarts (alto saxophonist Alexey Kruglov and pianist Roman Stolyar) to create Changes and Choices, a fascinating conceptual, narrative driven album whose sense of character and dramatic storytelling would translate beautifully to a stage presentation ... the melodic, improvisational and sometimes avant-garde solos by Kruglov and Stolyar add rich, detailed, heartfelt textures that underscore the compelling story.

JP's music blog



Changes & Choices Texte

All lyrics by Michaela Steinhauer apart from “Abandoned Chapel” by Ivory Stone

1. Me, myself and I

Me, myself and I

Sat down for a chat last night

As we poured us a nice glass of wine

We agreed we had to decide

What to do

About you


You’re often on my mind

You’re smart and you’re funny, you’re witty and kind

But a habit of yours is driving me nuts

I must admit that I don’t have the guts

To say that to your face

Maybe it is not my place place

But for our sake I’m thinking it through –

What to do about you?


Of course you have the right to stumble at every straw

To complain and criticize is not against any law


But your silly need to always compare and compete

To look for flaws to flout and grouse about

While ignoring the good surrounding you

Leaves you bitter and blue

And me with you

So tell me

what to do about you


2. Why is she still here

Why is she still here

After all these years

Still searching for the perfect rhyme

To the melody line that hums in her heart

And sobs in her soul


Why does she still try

While the world is passing her by

With fancier, flashier, faster sound

Why is she still bound

To sing her song


Maybe it is just because

That aside from those about glitter and gold

There are other stories that have to be told

About riches in scraps

And beauty in rags

About wisdom and virtue and grace


That’s why she’s still here

After all these years

A tiny voice in the growing cold

Telling stories that have to be told

And until her last breath she will try

To find the perfect rhyme

To the melody line

That hums in her heart

And sobs in her soul


3. She’s dancing

She’s just a simple girl

Living in her own little, simple world

Why can’t they just let her be?


Pure innocence and radiant joy

Greeting each day with sweet thanks and a smile

She’s perfect. Why can’t they see?


There she’s presenting her fancy dress

Each wobbly step a hard-earned success

How dare people deem her life not worth the while?

She’s not a burden - she’s a child


She’s dancing, dancing, dancing

Romancing with life, embracing the sunlight

A clumsy little butterfly

Her father’s pride, her mother’s joy

She’s learning, slowly learning

That strangers’ heads keep turning

Their eyes filled with pity, with disgust,surprise

It hurts her fragile soul, she cries

Just an angel, a little angle in disguise

With slurry speech and almond shaped eyes.


4. Choices

It‘s dark outside

I long to stay in bed and hide

But that won’t turn on any light

I‘d better find a candle


I‘m sad today

But moaning will not chase away

The gushes and the clouds of grey

I need to find a way to handle

The trying times of life

This day is dark but it is mine

It‘s mine


I choose to be

A victor, not the victim

If we hide not to be hurt again

We‘ve stopped living


Open the doors

To your soul and let the light in

There‘s good and bad in everything

The scars will remain

But lifes' beauty will outweigh the pain


5. Abandoned Chapel (Ivory Stone)

There’s an abandoned chapel down the road.

An old place of worship forlorn in the cold

Its haunted beauty brings tears to my eyes

It’s lost its purpose like so many of the people outside


When the dust settles where will you be?

When the dust settles will you still be free?


There’s an abandoned chapel near where we stayed

I used to sneak in as a child and pretend I was far away

When the dust settled I was never alone

As the dust settled I was at home


Tell me is there a way to bring these memories back to life?

And how can I restore the things that are broken or lost inside?



6. Moving


Once again,

Not even knowing

If or when

I might be back

Things I can pack

And take with me

But you, my friend,

I have to leave behind

Tears would blind our sight

So we just smile.

- It`s cold outside -


Still learning

To let go

That inner churning

We never know

What life might have in store

Scared to the core

There is this one first step

That leads out of the door

Yet I hesitate to close that gate

Thank you for the love, the smiles,

The tears, the laughter that we shared

The silent understanding,

The quarrels and their mending

That showed you cared


You’ll always have a home

In my soul

And a part of my heart

Will stay with you and keep me longing

As long as I am away

Tears would blind

Our sight

So we just smile

As we say good-bye



7. There’s nothing new

There’s nothing new

Under the Sun


Has been said and done before

So how come that we ignore

The lessons the past can teach us?


We are insane

Freezing in new regal robes

Hybris and phlegm have us

Choose distractions

Fake news to blind our minds

While the signs of the times are screaming

Greed and hatred and war


We’ve been here

We’ve been here before

Less than eighty years ago

London and Moscow looked like Aleppo and Holms do now


And yet we choose

Pied pipers to lead us

Who put on a show

We fall for their glow

And open doors wide

For the thieves to come and steal at night

Turning our heads

Not to see
injustice, slavery and death

We've been here

We've been here before

It took four generations

For the trauma to dilute

A bitter, muting, toxic fruit

We've been here

We've been here before


8. The other day

The other day I saw a hill

Protectively it crowned a valley

Veiled white in yarrow, elderberry

And daisies - and the skies were still.


I would have loved to show you this

Would lay a blanket on the grass,

With sweetest wine I´d fill your glass

For you to feel its peace


Those scars you've carried all your life

That broke your wings and then your spine

I'd copied them and made them mine

Fresh grounds for tears and strife


But on this hill I let them go

The pain, the fear, cast out and banished

And as my doubts and troubles vanished

I knew that I still miss you so…



9. She smiles

There's a grey-haired lady

At the corner table

Knobby fingers woven tight

Around a cup of tea

As if it was the Holy Grail

Hungrily she inhales

Its cheap aroma

Taking tiny sips to make it last

She scans the crowd with anxious eyes

Eager to collect at least a smile

A takeaway to fight the gloom

Of her cold and empty room


People drifting past her,

Scraps of conversations,

A cosmos of emotions

She’s known herself so well

Plan and purpose, goal and aim

Now there is nothing more to gain

Her husband gone,

Her children grown

There’s nothing left to do


But when her children call she smiles

Questions them about their busy lives

And their concerns she wipes away

All is well – that’s what she'll say


Soon she’ll have to leave

This island of the living

And go back into her cage

Of molding memories

How come the time flew by so fast?

But nothing’s ever meant to last

She folds her napkin, cleans the crumbs

And slowly starts to rise

What’s this sharp pain behind her eyes?

As she falls

She lets go – and smiles