Christmas in July
Ms. Lohninger, an Austrian, is joined here by her main musical partner, pianist Walter Fischbacher. Also in the band is his brother, Axel, on guitar. Lohninger, who moved to NYC in 1994, has undertaken a novel project: She’s chosen 12 songs in nine languages and, while I admire her efforts, I have to say that the results are very uneven. Things start promisingly enough with a very jazzy version of “The Christmas Song,” Mel Tormé’s classic “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” holiday entry, then moves to Brazil before heading into Italy for a dirge-like “In Notte Placida” on which she moans as much as she sings. Things get much livelier on “Potpourri de Navidad” from Mexico, a cheery number on which Axel, who veers between rock and jazz (and is good at both), rocks out. His brother is no slouch either and, as I found Ms. Lohninger’s vocals rather wobbly on occasion, my main pleasures were thanks to their playing, which took up most of the space. It would take a more cunning linguist than I to ascertain the authenticity of her vocals in such foreign tongues as Swedish, Danish and Japanese. While the pedal steel guitar enhanced France’s “Petit Papa Noel,” I do wonder why “Stille Nacht,” the Austrian version of “Silent Night,” wound up being so noisy.