Loading page... Wait Bar Animation
TobinMueller.com Mobile Menu Close Button Mobile Menu Button
Home Bio Recordings Videos Photography Writings Contact
Song of Myself
a collection of solo covers by Tobin Mueller
Cover of Song of Myself
Song of Myself
available on CDBaby, iTunes, and Amazon

Song of Myself is my first "cover songs" project: reinterpretations of songs I've sung for decades, just me at the piano, playing for myself. The title is from a work by Walt Whitman, the first poet I tried to emulate with my own early poetry.

Trouble with the CDBaby player? Click here to reload.

In his poetry collection "Leaves of Grass," Walt Whitman wrote about his own death for many years before it actually ocurred. Similarly, these are song I'd love to be able to play at my own funeral. Perhaps my recent health issues with A1AD and related lung problems brought the idea to mind. It makes using Whitman's title "Song of Myself" all the more fitting.

I was unable to sing for over a year. The next few years (months?) may be a small window of time where I'm able to sing again. My voice lacks the strength, control and range that it had before my lungs began to shrink and fail and discomfort became omnipresent, but the aged quality of the vocal performance has a depth and poignancy a younger voice may not be able to achieve. (One of the criteria I used to chose these songs was that the lyrics work with my "new" voice.) I spaced out the recordings over eight months because I experienced severe chest pains following most sessions, and once suffered a lung collapse, and therefore needed recovery time after each. But, as I tell myself, this gave me time to work on the arrangements.

The main purpose of each arrangement is to bring out the meaning and depth of the lyrics, highlighting them in inventive accompaniment phrasings, shifting harmonic settings, etc. Please pay special attention to the piano.

Two tracks are hydrid songs, grafting lyrics from related songs by the artist that I thought worked well as textual implants. "Blue Tattoo" combines material from 5 Joni Mitchell songs under a single emotional concept, using the structure of her song, "Blue," as the organizing principle. The other hydrid, "I Have Been Decieved," combines 3 Elton John songs into a single story line, although the main framework is his 1969 "The King Must Die." My version of "Blackbird" integrates a moment from Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," as well. In all cases, I'm trying to get at a deeper reading of specific lyrics, not merely trying to be clever. For those of you who know the originals, it will be a fun kind of audio treasure hunt. Also, I think my alterations of Jon Anderson's lyrics in "Let's Pretend" add an additoinal layer of meaning to his song (as well as make it more personal to my life), so I included his original lyrics for comparison when embedding the lyrics into the MP3 file (if viewed in iTunes).

I hope the simplicity of a weathered solo voice and warm acoustic piano lends to each song, each lyric, a special intimacy. (As an example, I sang "Frozen Man" while recovering from pneumonia, adding to its authenticity.)

Track 11, a fantasy inspired by Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow," is an instrumental, a duet for piano and soprano sax (Woody Mankowski). A fitting final track. Plus, it was the first song I arranged on my new baby grand piano after it arrived.

After listening to the complete collection, I couldn't help but add, as a Bonus Track, an unreleased recording, "Before There Were Gods," made following Michael Hedges' untimely death, with the blessings of his estate. It encorporates his amazing guitar work from "Lenono," with additions by me, including layered vocals. Unlike the other songs in this collection that are all recorded during 2011/2012, it was recorded in 2004, when I was breathing freely.

Click here to see more videos.

Play button 1 Impossible Dream [Mitch Leigh/Joe Darion, from Man of la Mancha]
Play button 2 Dignity [Bob Dylan]
Play button 3 American Tune [Paul Simon]
Play button 4 Blue Tattoos [Joni Mitchell]
Play button 5 Blackbird [Paul McCartney]
Play button 6 Being Alive [Stephen Sondheim, from Company]
Play button 7 Frozen Man [James Taylor]
Play button 8 I Have Been Deceived [Elton John/Bernie Taupin]
Play button 9 Let's Pretend [Anderson/Wakeman/Bruford/Howe] (altered lyrics)
Play button 10 Oh Danny Boy [traditional, lyrics by Federic Weatherly]
Play button 11 No Place Like Home [Arlen/Mueller]
Play button 12 Before There Were Gods [lyrics by Tobin Mueller, music by Mueller/Hedges]
Tobin's Standards Collection
A Bit of Light cover
A progressive folk / cross-genre collection of songs Tobin's been accumulating for a decade, A Bit of Light includes some of his favorite collaborations with saxophonists, fiddle players and guitarists, mixing jazz, bluegrass, tango and folk-rock. World renown violinist Entcho Todorov, saxophonists Danny McCaslin and Woody Mankowski, and guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights.

The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format.
Tobin's Other CD Collections
Solo Piano Jazz Rock
Tobin's Solo Piano Collection
Of Two Minds cover
Of Two Minds: The Music of Frédéric Chopin and Tobin Mueller is the final addition to Mueller's "Masterworks Trilogy" in which he explores the music of different eras and finds their relationsips to modern jazz piano. The first recording in the trilogy examined the Impressionists (Impressions of Water & Light), the second concentrated on Bach and the Baroque period (Flow), and now Tobin turns his attention to Chopin and the essence of Romanticism. He reinterprets Chopin's most iconic piano solos (Disc 1) and uses the preludes to inspire three original jazz piano sonatas (Disc 2). Seductive, rebellious, heroic and beautiful, Mueller embraces Romanticism at its core, creating music that's distinctly personal and deeply poetic. Jazz, Blues, New Age and Romantic, Mueller weaves all strands of music into a single fabric. A 16-page booklet is included with the 2-disc CD.
Flow cover
Flow: The Music of J.S. Bach and Tobin Mueller is a double album featuring Mueller's reinterpretations of Bach's greatest hits (Disc 1) plus two original jazz piano suites by Mueller (Disc 2). Inventive, playful, joyous, beautiful, full of emotion and intelligence. Mueller embraces the sense of timelessness one achieves when in the state of flow, bridging the centuries and letting Bach's 300 year old manuscripts inspire through new expression. Flow is one part homage, one part internal romance. Modal Jazz, New Age, Neo-Classical and Baroque all combined in seamless synergy. 16-page booklet included with 2-disc CD. Flow has been included in Fanfare Magazine's 2015 Want List of notable recordings.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Impressions of Water & Light is an exploration of the links between Impressionist and jazz piano, including adaptations of music by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Ibert and Carpenter. Tobin uses the written notes as if they are light and his imagination as if it is water... creating all new intrerpretations. The result is a post-Impressionist example of the inherent intimacy between jazz and Impressionist music, between Tobin and his favorite composers. You will never hear these works the same again. The accompanying CD booklet is a work of art in itself, pairing an Impressionist painting with each piece.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Midwinter Born is a collection of jazz piano interpretations of traditional Christmas carols. Mueller captures the quiet simplicity, expectant playfulness and over-riding joy of the season. A delightul and sometimes surprising album destined to become one of your annual holiday favorites. The wonder of Christmas unfolds as Mueller takes you on a yuletide journey through his musical imagination. The 18 track album includes: First Noel, Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Carol of the Bells, Lo How A Rose E'er Bloom, Good King Wenceslas, Still, Still, Still and many more.
Morning Whispers cover
Morning Whispers is Tobin's first solo piano collection, a song cycle of tragic beauty. Music of healing and introspection, these New Age and Neo-Classical pieces do more tha evoke emotion: they tell stories. The use of key changes, unusual time signatures, and other variational devices makes this work involving, not merely background music. Its internal intensity, however, does not detract from its healing essence, its sense of inner joy. Several of these piano pieces have since been used in film and documentaries. Cover photo taken by Mueller on Cape Cod.
13 Masks cover
13 Masks is Tobin's second solo piano collection. This project evolved from discussions about the role the subconscious plays in creativity. It is also an exploration of the links between avant-garde 20th Century music and jazz. Tobin used his illustrations of 13 Masks to inspire songs combining ragtime, jazz and 20th Century avant-garde classical. He let his subconscious lead the way, creating phrases and variations that pleased something deep inside, often avoiding normal forms and variations. An eclectic mix of original of songs.
Afterwords cover
Afterwords is Tobin's current solo piano project. Paying homage to his favorite authors, Tobin is creating a collection of piano tone poems to illustrates the books that influenced him the most throughout his life. On each track, Tobin recites a quotation, sometimes more than one, to highlight the story, emotions, insights or questions that become the inspiration for the music that follows. Includes tributes to Vonnegut, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Whitman, McEwan, Camus, Kosinski and less known authors like Aimee Bender and China Mieville and more. The 18 tracks represents the true breadth of Tobin's musical influences and accumulated experiences.
Tobin's Jazz Collection
Come In Funky cover
Come In Funky Old School Funk and and small combo Jazz featuring legendary bassist Ron Carter. This eclectic blend of Jazz and Funk is the second collaboration between keyboardist Tobin Mueller and saxophonist Woody Mankowski. Half of these tunes will transport you back in time to when most everything (music, clothes, language) owed its hipness to the Funk wing of 1970s Jazz. The other half - funky Jazz etudes - resonate with unique playfulness and humor. A delight. For more information, see: Come In Funky Project page. Released May 4 2014, in honor of Ron Carter's 77th birthday.

"You guys can play! These are, almost without exception, very complicated numbers in terms of rhythm and the general sync of solos with ensemble playing, a stellar set of recordings that, I believe, adds seriously to the body of jazz that this represents... A remarkable work in every single way I can think of. This is such a bright and happy album that is played with a spirit of invention and joy from the first notes to the last." - Paul Page
The Muller's Wheel cover
The Muller's Wheel is a collaborative project combining the talents of pianist Tobin Mueller and saxophonist Woody Mankowski in Jazz Quartet and larger ensemble settings. These original tracks represent their personal journey through jazz influences -- from swing to bop to fusion to funk. The styles of Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Herbie Hancock, The Brecker Brothers, Weather Report and more influence this homage to the jazz greats. Even the blues are given Mueller/Mankowski's uniquely bop-funk treatment. In all, the duo's originality permeate each track, each jazz sub-genre.

This is joyous music. It reminds us of the happiness we relive when returning to our musical roots. Mueller/Mankowski remind us how the personalities of certain eras continue to assert their influence and power.

"The Muller’s Wheel" title is based on the biological concept that mutation and DNA recombination creates cycles of growth and loss. It serves as a metaphor for the ebb and flow of the synthesis and creativity Mueller and Mankowski apply to their musical influences. The tracks are arranged in historical sequence, and the listener appreciates the cross-pollination between each of these genres. Listening from beginning to end creates a cyclical pilgrimage. It's rhythms and inventive flights of fancy invite the listener along for many return trips.
Rain Bather cover
Rain Bather is a jazz ensemble 80 minute long play CD. It features superlative solo performances byan all-star band members. Most of the tunes are in the jazz-funk-fusion vein, but many others try to break new ground, defying easy labels.

Tobin Mueller - B3 organ, electric piano, synth; composer
Woody Mankowski - soprano saxophone
Chris Mueller - acoustic piano
Jeff Cox - acoustic bass
Dane Richeson - drums & percussion
Tom Washatka - tenor saxophone
Doug Schnieder - tenor sax
Ken Schaphorst - flugelhorn
Bob Levy - trumpet
Sal Giorgianni - flute
Bill Barner - clarinet, additional sax
McBoy - electric guitars

Tobin's Rock Collection
Progressive Rock
Audiocracy cover
See Audiocracy: Revolution's Son for latest band info.

Ever since Tobin first listened to Yes, he's been enthralled with progressive rock. Using the Internet, he collaborated with players from around the world. He put tracks together piece by piece, a whole different way to record, but it was very rewarding: the music is inventive and driving!

The album was well reviewed in Progessive and other leading prog mags. The CD inculdes a collection of great arwork illustrating each song by Hovakimian Anoushavan. Please check it out.

Tobin Mueller: organs, synths, pianos, drum programming, backing vocals
Twon: vocals, bass, acoustic guitar
Bob Piper: electric guitar, guitar synth
Darren Chapman: electric guitar
Tadashi Togawa: guitars
Rob Thurman: drums
Alternative Rock
A Bit of Light cover
A progressive folk / cross-genre collection of songs Tobin's been accumulating for a decade, A Bit of Light includes some of his favorite collaborations with saxophonists, fiddle players and guitarists, mixing jazz, bluegrass, tango and folk-rock. World renown violinist Entcho Todorov, saxophonists Danny McCaslin and Woody Mankowski, and guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights.

The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format.
September 11 Project
September 11 Project cover
September 11 Project: Ten Years Later - Music written following 9/11/2001. Tobin was asked to participate in the 10th anniversary at Ground Zero ceremony and revisted these songs. He decided to put them out as an album instead of keep them to myself. Since he was unable to sing at the event, after contracting a lung disorder, this music gained layers of poignancy. Recorded in the months following the tragedy.