Loading page... Wait Bar Animation
TobinMueller.com Mobile Menu Close Button Mobile Menu Button
Home Bio Recordings Music Videos Photography Writings Illustrations Contact
Standard Deviations
Jazz Standards - Volume 1 and Volume 2
Standard Deviations Draft Cover
in progress

Jump to:  Volume 1 - Blues & Beyond  •  Volume 2 - Ballads

Standard Deviations is an exploration of the great Jazz Standards of the 20th century. Not only do these arrangements include "deviations" using fresh harmonic and conceptual settings, several tracks combine multiple tunes, letting one melody "deviate" into another, showing how many popular standards are musically related to one another.

This page is currently a Project Page meant to share specific takes and conceptual drafts with fellow collaborators.

The project will culminate in a two disc set: Volume One (Disc 1), dedicated to Tobin's father who prefered uptempo jazz ensembles; Volume Two (Disc 2), dedicated to Tobin's mother who loved the slower vocal ballads of the swing era. The final 2 volume collection will be produced by Factory Underground Studio's Kenny Cash. Instrumentalist guest appearances include Grammy winner Paul Nelson (Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Paul Nelson Band) on guitar and Tobin's long-time collaborator Woody Mankowski (The Muller's Wheel, Come In Funky, Rain Bather) on saxophone. The collection will also feature four collaborations with percussionists Lamar A. Moore (Lettuce, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe) and six with Mike Nappi (J Geils Band, The Orion Experience). See track lists below for specific player appearances.

Although Tobin's acoustic grand is the central instrument (a third of the tracks are piano only), this is an ensemble style album, albeit interspersed with intimate moments and solo reveries. The bop-funk influences of percussionist Lamar Moore and rock-fusion/jazz drumming of Mike Nappi transform several arrangments.* Mankowski's sax solos° lend additional seductive sophistication to others. Guitarist Paul Nelson interweaves dynamic conversational lines during his cameos. Tobin's own layering of vintage keys, various synths, preparied piano and Trilogy bass generate a variety of textured settings. The collection outstrips genres and is full of unexpected delights.

Art is meant to challenge convention, open up thought and potential, and inspire new expectations through changes in perspective and the breaking down of boundaries. As these songs morph between genres, shift contexts and juxtapose melodies, we are freed, just a bit, of preconceptions and established patterns. We discover new details, contemplate correlations we may have missed, embrace imaginative deviations and reintegrate our memory with refreshed meaning.

Thanks to John Shyloski (Factory Underground Studios) for his help with the cover art (which is based on an actual standard deviations graph) and back cover photography (see bottom of this page).

Volume One – Blues & Beyond

Possible selections:

• Take the "A" Train*†
• Eleanor Rigby*°
• God Bless the Child° / What a Wonderful World
• Fascinating Rhythm / I Got Rhythm
• St. Louis Blues*°
• Birdland / Long Distance Runaround*°†
• After Hours / Monk's Point°
• Take Five*
• Cool*
• Moanin' / Blue Monk*†
• Autumn Leaves / Ornithology
• Straight, No Chaser*°

* Indicates collaborations with percussionists
° Indicates collaborations with saxophonist Woody Mankowski
† Indicates collaboration with guitarist Paul Nelson

1.
The "A" Train - An Overture
- pre-guitar/pre-rhodes draft with Lamar on drums
Take the "A" Train - music by Billy Strayhorn.

. . .
pre-production concept version

Mercer Ellington (Duke's son) found a draft of Take the "A" Train in a trash can after Strayhorn had discarded it. It soon became the most famous composition to emerge from the historic collaboration between Billy Strayhorn and the Duke Ellington orchestra. The title refers to the then-new A subway service that runs through New York City, going at that time from eastern Brooklyn up into Harlem and northern Manhattan. The song was composed in 1939, after Ellington offered Strayhorn a job in his organization and gave him money to travel from Pittsburgh to New York City. Ellington wrote directions for Strayhorn to get to his house by subway, directions that began, "Take the A Train". Our version is a post-bop stream of consciousness journey through a more modern urban landscape. NOTE: The alternative preproduction concept track (see above) is all keyboards, synth drums and piano. The moody arrangement was my original concept, but after hearing Lamar play, we switched gears. I look forward to the additions guitarist Paul Nelson will bring.

2.
Eleanor Rigby
- in production, awaiting drumkit
Eleanor Rigby - primarily by Paul McCartney, credited to Lennon–McCartney of The Beatles

This has always been one of my favorite Beatles songs - not just because of its concise poetic lyrics, but also due to its subtle use of major-minor shifts that shape its haunting melody. I introduce a unique harmonic context for the song, underscored by a triplet rhythmic bed that, combined, establish tension between moody foreboding and an expectation of joy. The preproduction MIDI drum track is simply an attempt to communicate to the percussionist and drummer what should go where, it is nothing more than a space-keeper until the actual players come into the studio. Rolling Stone has a great article about the evolution of this iconic song, (check it out.)

3.
God Bless the Child/ What A Wonderful World
- preproduction concept draft
God Bless the Child - by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr; with
What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele (as "George Douglas") and George David Weiss.

This funk-fusion arrangement departs from the empathic performance of Billie Holiday's original version, but, I hope, captures the chaotic energy of a youth sorting out the confusion and potential of a world without proper moorings. Half way through, the tune morphs into What A Wonderful World, slowly melts into the arms of a mothering solo piano - an oasis of gentleness and love. The return to the funk groove now has more certainty, more courage, more maturity. This concept draft awaits the contributions of saxophonist Woody Mankowski.

4.
Fascinating Rhythm I Got
- piano solo not yet recorded
Fascinating Rhythm and I Got Rhythm - music by George Gershwin.

I've long wanted to combine these two rhythmically-themed Gershwin classics into a single manic romp. Fascinating Rhythm was introduced in the 1924 Broadway musical "Lady Be Good" by Fred and Adele Astaire. I Got Rhythm was published in 1930. Its chord progression, known as the "rhythm changes", is the foundation for many other popular jazz tunes such as the Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie bebop standard "Anthropology (Thrivin' on a Riff)". It is from this latter style that I take my cue.

5.
St. Louis Blues
- early mix
St. Louis Blues - by W. C. Handy

. . .
pre-production concept track (long version)

By the time Bessie Smith had the opportunity to put her inimitable stamp on “St. Louis Blues” in 1925, this W. C. Handy classic was already the most popular and well-known blues song in existence. It's one of the first songs I accompanied my mother on, as a teenager. However, this is not at all the way I played it for my mom 45 years ago. It is an homage not only to W. C. Handy, but to Herbie Hancock and Dr. John as well. The straight ahead funk rhythms played by drummer Lamar Moore gives this legendary tune a fresh feel. Woody's blues saxophone adds yet another layer. NOTE: The alternative version (see above) includes the oroginal extended organ solo prior to the addition of drums and sax.

6.
Birdland Runaround
- pre-production concept draft
Birdland by Joe Zawinul from Weather Report;
Long Distance Runaround by Jon Anderson from Yes

In my mind, progressive rock is intertwined with fusion jazz, not just because of the similar vibe and instrumentation but because they evolved at the same time. In this arrangement I combine two of my favorites: Birdland by Weather Report and Long Distance Runaround by Yes. This preproduction draft has no percussion yet, which will eventually drive the track. I'm looking forward to that addition. The hi-hat and other percussion sounds are merely MIDI timing helpers to approximate the minimum that the drummer will add. So far, my favorite parts are the middle frenetic piano solo (a cadenza based on the opening Long Distance Runaround riff) and the electric keyboard solo (backed by acoustic chord substitutions) that follows it. Note that the opening instrumental duet are dueling Wurlitzer electric pianos, not guitars.

7.
After Hours
- early mix
After Hours - by Avery Parrish;
with additional inspiration from Monk's Point by Thelonious Monk.

The first recording of this jazz-blues classic was by Avery Parrish with the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, on June 10, 1940. It was an instant hit. Noteworthy subsequent versions were recorded by the likes of Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Woody Herman and numerous others. Since 1984 it has been the theme song for the Jazz After Hours program on NPR. Woody Mankowski and I perform it as a straight ahead trio, with the organ playing the part of the larger orchestra (as heard in the Big Band versions). At 2:55, the song transforms into a twisted blues take on Monk's Point, forming the tune's climax. This track is the least "deviated" from it's original of all others in this collection, my homage to the blues roots of jazz.

8.
Take Five
- pre-drummer concept draft
Take Five - by Paul Desmond of The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Dave Brubeck was my most influential musical mentor. He wedded classical music precision with jazz improvisation, as I've tried to do throughout much of my career. Conceived as a drum/piano duet, this arrangement is an homage to the groundbreaking album Time Out that revolutionized music. In my own personal evolution, Take Five was a stepping stone to countless time signature experiments. This is the piano-only concept draft. I look forward to working with the drummer and guitarist soon.

9.
Cool
- pre-drummer concept draft
Cool - music by Leonard Bernstein, from West Side Story

This is a Big Band style arrangement using a quintet size combo: piano, acoustic bass (with a clavinet doubling on ocassion), electric piano (both Wurlitzer & Fender Rhodes), organ and drummer. There will be multiple drum solos, including one as intro and several 1-4 bar solos during last half of the arrangement. The drummer has yet to be added. Although it sounds like a jazz guitar solo in the middle, that is a Wurlitzer piano.

10.
Moanin' Monk
- pre-production concept draft
Moanin' - by Bobby Timmons, first recorded by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers;
coupled with Blue Monk by Thelonious Monk.

This begins as a fairly traditional handling of two great blues standards, Moanin' and Blue Monk. Both drums and sax have yet to be added. The organ solo may be replaced by a sax, and the sax will solo and duet with the piano later in the piece. The setting for the solos slowly begins to become more contemporary after Moanin' morphs into Blue Monk. This is an attempt to channel first Oscar Peterson then Thelonious himself. The synth bass also adds a dreamy modern feel, especially by the end.

11.
Autumn Leaves and The Lady
- not yet recorded
Autumn Leaves - music by Joseph Kosma; coupled with
Ornithology - by Charlie "Bird" Parker.

Originally a 1945 French song, "Les Feuilles mortes" (literally "The Dead Leaves"), the jazz standard Autumn Leaves was composed by Hungarian-French composer Joseph Kosma with lyrics by poet Jacques Prévert. The Hungarian title is "Hulló levelek" (Falling Leaves). Yves Montand (with Irène Joachim) introduced "Les feuilles mortes" in the film Les Portes de la nuit (1946). As a musician who once mainly played saxophone, I've always revered Charlie Parker as the greatest alto sax player ever. His phrasing and innovations have guided my piano playing, as well. I couldn't resist the the chance to combine the swirling flight of both leaves and birds.

12.
Straight, No Chaser
- in production, pre-drummer
Straight, No Chaser - by Thelonious Monk

[NOTE: This is a pre-drumming draft mix. A few chords etc were accidentally muted during the mix session and will be put back in during the next session.] Thelonious Monk remains one of the greatest influences on both my playing and writing. I try to add something new to this Monk classic by making it a concept piece: It begins in a bar, reflecting the title. My comment about haunting sounds refers to this tune and all the tunes that follow. My grand piano slowly morphs out of a less well-tuned saloon upright. A "prepaired piano" (a piano filled with nails and other metal bits) adds accents, along with an electric piano and B3 organ. A Trilogy bass provides the traditional walking bass that transforms into a modern progressive rock sound before the end. Drumming and saxophone have not yet been added.

Volume Two – Ballads
• Georgia On My Mind
• Moon River / Somewhere Over the Rainbow
• Stardust°
• Fly Me To The Moon
• Sophisticated Lady°
• Secret Love
• Am I Blue / Summertime
• The Way You Look Tonight / The Nearness of You*
• Smoke Gets In Your Eyes / People
• My Funny Valentine†
• Misty / A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
• Where Is Love

* Indicates collaborations with percussionists
° Indicates collaborations with saxophonist Woody Mankowski
† Indicates collaboration with guitarist Patrick Wayland

1.
Georgia On My Mind
- early mix draft
Georgia On My Mind - by Hoagy Carmichael

I bring some new elements to this classic tune, something outside the blues setting that has been done so successfully by Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Eric Clapton and others. Georgia On My Mind is about home, an elusive and changing concept. I intermix Impressionism, jazz, blues and tin pan alley to create a full life journey. The juxtaposition of styles speaks to the idea of how memory folds together disparate emotions with redeeming grace.

2.
Moon River / Somewhere Over the Rainbow
- early mix draft
Moon River - music by Henry Mancini, from Paramount Pictures' Breakfast at Tiffany's;
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - music by Harold Arlen, from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's The Wizard of Oz

After recording this medley on piano, I had an idea to record individual notes and reverse them to create the feel of shooting stars in the background. One thing led to another and pretty soon I was programming a Native Instrument FM8 module to add additional augmentations. I like the way the acoustic piano moves in and out of the electronic enhancements. The bells occasionally dip below the surface of the moonlit river. Windchimes and other whirling sounds remind the listener of the wind that will soon take Dorothy over the rainbow.

3.
Stardust
- pre-sax draft
Stardust - by Hoagy Carmichael

Stardust was my mother's favorite song, the only song I ever heard her play on the piano. The Latin-Calypso feel of this arrangement would surprised her yet, hopefully, delight her. I can see her dancing to it in the kitchen with breezy joy. Woody Mankowski provides the soprano saxophone colorations. Simplicity is at the core of this arrangement, an oasis of restraint in an album of compressed ideas and restless diversity. Note: the bassline is barely audible when played through a computer's speakers. Headphones may be needed to hear it.

4.
Fly Me To The Moon
- early mix draft
Fly Me to the Moon - by Bart Howard (originally titled "In Other Words")

There are intentional parallels between this arrangement and that of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I wanted to interpret a journey beyond the rainbow, into the stars, something lighter than air, romantic, moonlit. One of the wonderfully balanced melodies in the American Songbook, I support it with chords that surprise yet comfort, uplift yet are not frivolous, creating a contemplative motion that both cherishes memories and looks forward with anticipation.

5.
Sophisticated Lady
- early draft mix
Sophisticated Lady - music by Duke Ellington

Composed as an instrumental in 1932 by Duke Ellington, the song was inspired by three of Ellington's grade school teachers. "They taught all winter and toured Europe in the summer," the Duke wrote. "To me that spelled sophistication." My piano captures the mood of an open-minded traveler descending airstairs onto a tarmac of new experience and mysterious culture. Woody Mankowski's tenor saxophone introduces Ellington's transcendent melody (the eptitome of 20th century "popular sophistication" - a phrase that would be an oxymoron in less capable hands) with melancholy. The arrangement slowly morphs into bewitched then frolicsome reverie. The current version is a raw early mix, without proper leveling, effects, etc.

6.
Secret Love
- unmixed draft
Secret Love - music by Sammy Fain, from the musical film Calamity Jane

In 1953, this exquisitely balanced tune from the musical film Calamity Jane introduced Doris Day to the world. If this were the only version of the song, I would never have picked it for this collection. Many others have covered it, from Frank Sinatra and Freddy Fender, but it was pianist Brad Mehldau's live version that made me realize how supremely pretty this songs is. The slow tempo and subtle shifts into modal jazz adds an air of hushed melancholy. Secret love can be thrilling, but more often ends in tragic longing and emptiness. I've tried to make this version more about sweet remembrance, however.

7.
Am I Blue / Summertime
- edited draft w/ new ending (unmixed)
Am I Blue? - by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke, from Warner Bros's On with the Show!;
Summertime - music by George Gershwin, from Porgy and Bess

. . .
alternative longer version with original ending

As in most of these arrangements, I first recorded this piece on piano and then layered on electronic and acoustic augmentations. Two electronic pianos (Wurlitzer and Fender Rhodes) double with the acoustic piano to create a resonant keyboard sound. EXS modules provide the other embellishments. A few carefully placed bowed piano strings round out the additions. My variations of Summertime capture the whimsy and lightness of summer viewed through the lens of childhood memory. (There's nothing like summertime to bring you out of a blue reverie.) My first take ended in a style reminiscent of Coney Island and circus music, but my wife, who dislikes circuses and Coney Island, suggested I redo it. The new ending is more ethereal, more of a summer day spent in the backyard, surrounded by the security and liesure of youth; or, in my wife's case, in the beauty of her self-tended gardens. Currently, only the first take is available. I will post the second version soon.

8.
The Way You Look Tonight / The Nearness of You
- pre-percussion concept draft
The Way You Look Tonight - music by Jerome Kern, from Swing Time;
The Nearness of You - music by Hoagy Charmichael, from Paramount Picture's Romance In The Park

This is a simple keyboard duet between an acoustic grand and a Fender Rhodes, with added percussion for rhythmic color and variation. It's hard to imagine the center section without the percussion. If the percussionist addition doesn't come to fruition, I will replay that section. There is an electric piano note at the beginning which will be removed on final mixing, please disregard.

9.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes / People
- pre-mix draft
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - music by Jerome Kern, from Roberta;
People - music by Jule Styne, from Funny Girl

Combining these two songs presented a certain unity of pathos for me. One is about the aftermath of a break up; the other is about the longing inherent in people simply needing people, resutling in the never-ending cycle that fuels so many songs (and relationships). After playing with classic jazz chord substitutions, the arrangement gravitates toward Chopin, forgoing suggested genre rules for a deeper romaniticism. Of course, everything falls aprt by the end and eventually returns to the beginning, presumably to try the whole (relationship) thing all over again. Such is life. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is another classic tune by composer Jerome Kern (and lyricist Otto Harbach) from his 1933 musical Roberta. People is a song composed by Jule Styne with lyrics by Bob Merrill for the 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand, who introduced the song.

12.
Where Is Love
- early mix draft
Where Is Love? - by Lionel Bart, from the musical Oliver!

This dreamy, haunting rendition highlights the introspective aspects of one of the sweetest soliloquy songs ever written. I use a mixture of reversed and bowed piano, framed by synth and piano continuum, in the extended introduction in order to present the tune's hopeful yet chimerical context. The main body of the piece is modal and shifting, searching and reflective. The hint of synth in the air, at the very end, is a simple exhale, a silent reminder of the question who's answer often remains just beyond...

Tobin at the Keyboard

photo by John Shyloski, Factory Underground Studios

Tobin's Jazz Collection
JAZZ ENSEMBLE
Come In Funky cover
Come In Funky Old School Funk and and small combo Jazz featuring legendary bassist Ron Carter. "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, featuring their jazz quartet and their larger 8-pieace ensemble, playing 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. This is joyous music. "It reminds us of the happiness we relive when returning to our musical roots," say Mueller and Mankowski.
Rain Bather cover
Rain Bather is an 80 minute long play CD featuring superlative solo performances by 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, synth; Woody Mankowski - soprano sax; Chris Mueller - acoustic piano; Jeff Cox - acoustic bass; Dane Richeson - drums; Tom Washatka - tenor sax; Doug Schnieder - tenor sax; Ken Schaphorst - flugelhorn; Bob Levy - trumpet; Sal Giorgianni - flute; Bill Barner - clarinet.
SOLO PIANO JAZZ
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. He pays homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Faulkner, as well as new authors Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville. Musical influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor, even Keith Emerson. "An astonishing work of art."
Of Two Minds cover
Of Two Minds: The Music of Frédéric Chopin and Tobin Mueller, especially Disc 2 - Tobin plays Tobin. Three original jazz piano sonatas make up Disc 2. Each shows Chopin influences, but draws more from contemporaries Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck and Keith Jarrett. "One would be hard-pressed to find an artist with a more creative musical mind than Tobin Mueller’s - especially one with the playing chops to fulfill his or her vision." Fanfare Magazine's 2016 Editor's Choice Award.
Flow cover
Flow: The Music of J.S. Bach and Tobin Mueller, especially Disc 2 - Tobin plays Tobin. Two post-bop jazz piano suites make up Disc 2. Each shows Bach influences, but draws more from contemporaries Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch and Gerald Clayton. "This may be the pianist-composer’s most ambitious and sophisticated recording project to date... a journey that inevitably explores the interactions of Baroque and jazz." Fanfare Magazine's 2015 Editor's Choice Award.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Impressions of Water and Light is an exploration of the cross-inspirations between Impressionist and contemporary jazz piano, including adaptations of music by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Ibert and Carpenter. "The listener has the sense that Mueller is having his personal conversation as a composer and pianist with these great 19th- and 20th-century composers." This is third album of "The Masterworks Trilogy" which includes Flow and Of Two Minds.
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. 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 than evoke emotion: they tell stories. Influences include Aaron Copland, Bill Evans, David Lanz, Liz Story. Several of these piano pieces have since been used in film and documentaries.
13 Masks cover
13 Masks is Tobin's second solo piano collection. An exploration of the links between avant-garde 20th Century music and jazz, influences include Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, John Medeski, as well as classical composers Shostakovich, Ligeti, Bartok. "A truly unique album with music to really sink your teeth into."
Afterwords: Bonus Tracks cover
Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks - For those of you who prefer music without any interruptions, seven of the best tracks from Afterwords have been remastered with the talking edited out. Originally conceived for distribution to jazz radio stations, this Bonus Album is now avaiilable to the egeneral public. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor; post-bop, stride, new age, classic jazz.
Tobin's Other CD Collections
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 intersections of classical and jazz piano. Mueller 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. Jazz influences include Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck, Keith Jarrett. "One would be hard-pressed to find an artist with a more creative musical mind than Tobin Mueller’s." Fanfare Magazine's 2016 Editor's Choice.
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, letting Bach's 300 year old manuscripts inspire through new expression. Jazz influences include Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Gerald Clayton. "This may be the pianist-composer’s most ambitious and sophisticated recording. Highly recommended." Fanfare Magazine's 2015 Editor's Choice.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Impressions of Water & Light is an exploration of the cross-inspirations 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 interpretations. This post-Impressionist music illustrates the intimacy between jazz and Impressionist music. You will never hear these works the same again. The gorgeous CD booklet is a work of art in itself, pairing an Impressionist painting with each piece. One of the three album in Mueller's "Masterworks Trilogy".
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 delightful and sometimes surprising album destined to become one of your annual holiday favorites. 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. The use of key changes, unusual time signatures, and other variational devices makes this work involving, not merely New Age background music. Its gentle intensity, however, does not detract from its healing essence, its sense of inner joy. Influences include Aaron Copland, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, David Lanz, Liz Story. Several of these piano pieces have since been used in film and documentaries.
13 Masks cover
13 Masks is Tobin's second solo piano collection. An exploration of the links between avant-garde 20th Century music and jazz. Tobin used illustrations of 13 medieval masks to inspire songs combining ragtime, jazz and 20th Century avant-garde classical. Influences include Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, Scott Joplin, John Medeski, as well as classical composers Shostakovich, Ligeti, Bartok. These pieces will startle and delight. "A truly unique album with music to really sink your teeth into."
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. He pays homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Faulkner, as well as new authors Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville. Musical influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor, even Keith Emerson. "An astonishing work of art." Jazziz's 2017 Critics' Choice.
Afterwords: Bonus Tracks cover
Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks - For those of you who prefer music without any interruptions, seven of the best tracks from Afterwords have been remastered with the talking edited out. Originally conceived for distribution to jazz radio stations, this Bonus Album is now avaiilable to the egeneral public. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor; post-bop, stride, new age, classic jazz.
Tobin's Rock Collection
Progressive Rock
Audiocracy cover
AUDIOCRACY is an international progressive rock collective. Their poetic writing and virtuosic performances make their high energy music life-affirming and uplifting, even considering the apocalyptic nature of their first release. Revolution's Son has been called "a masterpiece in the Epic Prog tradition." Progressive Magazine gave it 4 out 5 stars. Th story follows a revolutionary who comes to The City to be a catalyst for change and a prophet of truth. He falls into an Underground that urges a less innocent approach to change, leading to a post-apocalyptic finish. High energy, impressionistic prog.
Alternative Rock
A Bit of Light cover
A Bit of Light - 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, Grammy winner saxophonist Danny McCaslin and L.A.'s Woody Mankowski, Enlish fiddler player Martyn Kember-Smith and guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights. The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format.
If I Live Long Enough cover
If I Could Live Long Enough - Previously unreleased outtakes from earlier projects, including the 1998-1999 Rain Bather sessions, the 2004-2006 MacJams collaborations, and selected songs from two of Mueller's musicals: Creature and Runners In A Dream. Featuring acoustic guitar by Grammy winner Michael Hedges, vocals by Woody Mankowski and Emily Rohm, and some of Mueller's best songwriting. Six free Bonus Tracks available here.
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.
Tobin's Standards Collection
Song Of Myself cover
Song Of Myself - Tobin's favorite songs from The American Songbook, reinterpretted. Intimate, heartfelt, devistatingly honest music. Complete lyrics and song notes are linked from Tobin's Song of Myself page. Ballads, blues, showtunes, folk rock, jazz - the music of Tobin's roots. These are songs he's song for decades, arrangements that have evolved and matured with him. "American Tune" by Paul Simon. "Blackbird" by Paul McCartney. Bob Dylan's "Dignity." A Joni Mitchell and an Elton John medly. "Being Alive" from Company (Stephen Sondheim). "Impossible Dream" from Man of la Mancha. "Oh Danny Boy." "Frozen Man" by James Taylor. Many more, plus two original songs by Tobin Mueller.
Hard Place To Find cover
Hard Place To Find - Tobin has released a second volume of his favorite songs from The American Songbook. Complete lyrics and song notes are linked from Tobin's Hard Place To Find project page. "Still Crazy" by Paul Simon. Bob Dylan's "Shelter from the Storm" and "Bob Dylan's Dream." Richie Haven's "Paradise." "Dulcinea" from Man of la Mancha. "Alfie" by Bacharach. "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Many more, plus one original song by Tobin Mueller. All songs have to do with journeying, questing, searching. Released June 2nd, 2013. "Tobin Mueller is something of a Renaissance man of the arts, and 'Hard Place To Find' presents another volume in his prolific and impressive output. More of an art-music album than a pop release, I recommend it if you are looking for something different and deeply personal!" - Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano
A Bit of Light cover
A Bit of Light - A progressive folk / cross-genre collection of songs featuring Mueller's vocals and a long list of his best friends and collaborators, including world renown violinist Entcho Todorov, Grammy winner saxophonist Danny McCaslin, L.A. saxophonist Woody Mankowski, English fiddler player Martyn Kember-Smith and Texan guitarist John Luper provide fabulous highlights. The music melds jazz, bluegrass, tango and folk-rock. The CD comes with a digital booklet in PDF format.
If I Live Long Enough cover
If I Could Live Long Enough - Previously unreleased outtakes from earlier projects, including the 1998-1999 Rain Bather sessions, the 2004-2006 MacJams collaborations, and selected songs from two of Mueller's musicals - Creature and Runners In A Dream. Featuring acoustic guitar by Grammy winner Michael Hedges, vocals by Woody Mankowski and Emily Rohm, and some of Mueller's best songwriting. 6 free Bonus Tracks available here.
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.
Poetry / Spoken Word
As Simple As Soap cover
As Simple As Soap - Del lends his deep voice and unique personality to Tobin's award-winning poetry. Love, fatherhood, history, death and daily meanings are all touch on in this combination of poetry and short story offerings. Each spoken word selection is accompanied by Mueller's visually stimulating background music that adds great emotional depth. The force and color of Del's voice earns this collection a high recommendation; the breathtaking and varied accompaniments make this a truly fascinating addition to Tobin Mueller's collected works.
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. Paying homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut and Faulkner, as well as contemporary authors such as Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville, Mueller spins musical stories that will make you consider each book in a new light. Every track is a musical meditation, guided by entertaining and insightful quotations. The 17 tracks combine to represent the true breadth of his musical influences and accumulated experiences. Jazziz's 2017 Critics' Choice.