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The Best of Tobin Mueller
A Compilation
Best Of Album Cover

Jazz Combos, Disc 1Vocal Songs, Disc 2Original Piano, Disc 3Intrepretive Piano, Disc 4Soundtracks, Disc 5
Spoken Word, Disc 6Children's Music, Disc 7

The Best of Tobin Mueller presents in seven discs Tobin's best recordings. Drawing from thirty albums as well as tracks that have never been released, this collection includes his highly acclaimed solo piano recordings from 2005 to the present, jazz combo sessions from 1998, musical theatre tunes from as far back as 1972, his early 1990s forays into experimental electronica, and several international collaborations with Grammy award-winning artists. Plus, for the first time on this website, disc 7 includes songs written for his UNEP Global 500 Roll of Honour children's theatre troupe, CenterStage Productions (1986-1994).

This box set has a planned release date of 2020. In addition to what is listed below, it will include the best of three solo piano albums currently in progress. Keep checking this page to find new tracks (and to discover which have been removed).

The collection is organized into seven discs: 1) jazz combo and big band funk instrumentals, 2) rock, pop, jazz and theatrical songs, 3) original piano compositions, 4) piano arrangements of both classical and jazz standards, 5) soundtracks and experimental electronica, 6) spoken word recordings featuring Del reciting Tobin's poetry as well as the best from Tobin's spoken word/piano album Afterwords, 7) children's music featuring the voices of CenterStage Children's Theatre Troupe.

The collection displays a wide variety of genres, yet every style coheres around a distinct "Tobin Mueller sound." His solo piano work ranges from post-bop to stride, modal jazz to neo-classical. He was one of the early explorers of New Age music, before it settled within it's current formulaic relaxation/ambient boundaries, yet no genre can contain his imaginative explorations and musical dialogues. As Kathy Parsons of Mainly Piano has said, "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." His jazz ensemble sessions move through Big Band to bop to old-school funk. "This cascade of styles could be wearisome," comments Brad Walseth of Jazz Chicago, "but not in the hands of this sensitive composer who moves the listener assuredly through the paces." His vocal recordings range from complex, layered progressive rock to mainstream pop to musical theatre. In addition, Mueller has written symphonies, ballets, jingles, film scores and video game soundtracks. Although this collection includes seven distinct discs, it does not contain the totality of Mueller's musical expressions, although it comes close.

To learn more about Tobin's career, please see his Biography page on this website. To review his catalog of complete recordings, please see Recordings or check out these sites:

Press the player buttons below to listen. You may need to wait a few seconds for the track to load. The comments written below each selection are by Tobin.

Top of PageJazz CombosVocal SongsOriginal PianoIntrepretive PianoSoundtracksSpoken WordChildren's Music

Disc One — Original Jazz/Funk/Fusion Combos
The freshest and most sheerly entertaining, intriguing and exciting jazz recordings I've come across. Tobin Mueller's kaleidoscopic mind sets you on joyous journeys. Highly recommended."

Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net

1.
I Wanna Fly
  from  Rain Bather
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Contemporary Big Band overture to my 2009 album Rain Bather, winner of the "Best Jazz Album of 2009" awarded by ChicagoJazz.net

2.
Cliff's Edge
  from  Rain Bather  and  Muller's Wheel
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Perhaps my favorite octet tune I've ever recorded. Solos in order of appearance: Tobin Mueller, organ; Bob Levy; trumpet; Doug Schneider, tenor sax; Woody Mankowski, soprano sax.

3.
Forrest's Fire
  from  Muller's Wheel  and  Come In Funky
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Contemporary Big Band Funk in an unusual meter. Name refers to Woody's given name, Forrest. His solos are, indeed, on fire, on both alto and soprano saxes. My solo on B3 organ is truncated by the fade out - I still don't know how that happened.

4.
Lost in the West Village
  from  Muller's Wheel
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Jazz quartet featuring Woody Mankowski on all saxes.

5.
Frankenfanny
  from  Come In Funky
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Jazz-funk quartet featuring Ron Carter on mutliple basses, Tobin on multiple organs, Woody on multiple saxes. Woody has a very cool solo at the end.

6.
Müller's Wheel
  from  Muller's Wheel
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Big band funk featuring Woody Mankowski on sax and Tobin Mueller on organ.

7.
Waltzing Night Into Day
  from  Rain Bather
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Jazz Quintet arrangement of a solo piano piece featuring Doug Schneider on tenor sax. Three (four?) Decades ago I wrote this melody for the stage play The Runner Stumbles by Milan Stitt. It was sung by a young nun character. I then expanded it into a piano solo that appeared on my album Morning Whispers. In addition, I used the melody in Creature. So, you see, this one has gotten around. This is my favorite version.

8.
Struttin' Up Bourbon
  from  Muller's Wheel
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This Funk/Blues/Jazz Fusion hybrid features Tobin on B3 organ, Woody Mankowski on saxes, Fran Dagostino on guitar. Name refers to Bourbon Street in New Orleans' French Quarter. If you've ever walked down Bourbon Street during the evening hours, a different kind of music rolls out of every opened door. That is what I wanted to capture.

9.
Deconstruction Of A Glance
  from  Come In Funky
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Big Band Funk featuring Woody Mankowski on alto sax. What was to be a 3 minuite funk jam turned into a 6:45 extended tune because just wouldn't stop playing...!

10.
Windowshade
  from  Muller's Wheel
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Funk tune collaboration between Woody Mankowski and myself. All instruments played by the two of us, in the studio. Woody plays all reeds, I do all keys and drum programming. I always thought this would make a fine porn soundtrack :-)

11.
Finding No Path
  from  Rain Bather
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Featuring my nephew Chris Mueller on piano, percussionist Dane Richeson on drums and Tobin on B3 organ, this tune combines classical, jazz and musical theatre influences. An instrumental arrangement of a Creature tune.

12.
Grandfather Clock
  from  Come In Funky
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Duet featuring bass legend Ron Carter. I play organ. Playful and short, like a jazz étude.

13.
Fusion Of Minds
- extended version - previously unreleased
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Jazz quartet featuring Woody Mankowsi on all saxes (overdubbed) and Tobin on piano. A rare example of acoustic fusion. An edited version was released on Muller's Wheel.

14.
One Body of Man, a duet
  from  Flow
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A Mueller/Schneider piano duet recorded live at Lawrence University in 1998. It presents a series of variations on a theme from my off-broadway musical Creature.

15.
Distortion Of Memory
  from  Muller's Wheel
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Moody late night jazz featuring Woody Mankowski on tenor sax, Jeff Cox on bass, Tobin on piano.

16.
Beam Up The Funk
  from  Come In Funky
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I'm a huge Star Trek fan. The opening chord reminded me of the sound the Enterprise's transporter makes. I always think "Beam me up, Scotty" when the tune starts. This chart gives me the chance to move from keyboard to keyboard, showing off my plethora of gear (mostly in mothballs now). This Big Band Funk-Fusion tune doesn't feature a sax solo, but has a monster guitar solo at the end by Fran Dagostino.

17.
Island Lost In Time
  from  Come In Funky
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Cooled out Jamaican funk. There can never be enough reggae influence in the world. The tune features several layered keyboard solos by me. All saxes by Woody Mankowski.

18.
Acid Hopping
- extended version - previously unreleased
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Eclectic eleven minute long-play version of a tune from Rain Bather. Ensemble features Sal Giorgianni, flute; Woody Mankowski, saxes; Tobin Mueller: keys; Bob Levy, trumpet.

19.
River Runs Through Me
  from  Muller's Wheel  and  Rain Bather
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Featuring Woody Mankowski on soprano sax, this is based on one of my favorite tunes from Creature. A trio without percussion (something I would do more frequently as I got older), this track features a fabulous solo on piano by my nephew Chris Mueller. I'm on organ.

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Disc Two — Vocal Songs
Of all of the artists that I’ve reviewed over the years, Tobin Mueller has to be the most versatile. There isn’t much in the music realm that he hasn’t done and that vast experience is evident in this music. I am in awe of Tobin’s fearless pursuit of honesty and originality in his work. The lyrics of all of the songs are poetic and meaningful."

Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano

Tobin's Vocals
1.
Before There Were Gods
- feat. Michael Hedges - from  If I Could Live Long Enough

A collaboration with Grammy award winner Michael Hedges (acoustic guitar), a huge talent who died too young. Seagulls were recorded on Cape Cod MA. Inspired by my wife, Suzanne.

2.
Be My Love
- feat. Entcho Todorov - from  A Bit Of Light

Tango-Rock-Folk Fusion piece featuring Hungarian violinist Entcho Todorov. One of several songs written for a film shot in Bucharest, Romania, based on the Dr. Jekkyll and Mr. Hyde fable.

3.
Dignity
- by Bob Dylan - from  Song of Myself

This is a simple voice/piano cover of Bob Dylan's self-described favorite song. It's one of two songs included on this disc written by someone other than me. Bob Dylan is my favorite artist to cover. His lyrics are full of surreal collage-like references and potent visual metaphors.

4.
Puzzle City
- feat. Bob Piper - from  Audiocracy: Revolution's Son

A collaboration with guitarist Bob Piper, this is the second track from my 2008 progressive rock concept album, Audiocracy: Revolution's Son. This recording also featured Scott Rockenfield (Queensrÿche) on drums and my eldest son, Anton (known professionally as Twon), on backing vocals.

5.
Was There Once A Time
  from  The September 11 Project  and  If I Could Live Long Enough

I wrote and recorded this in November 2001, while recovering from 9/11. I later integrated it into my 2005 musical Runners In A Dream written with Randyl Appel, set during the Holocaust. It remains one of my favorite songs I've written.

6.
Turn It Around
  from  If I Could Live Long Enough

Written just before 9/11/2001, I sold this song through my Hong Kong agent to the South Korean pop music market. It still makes me smile.

7.
New Holy Land
  from  The September 11 Project

I wrote and recorded this the day after Was There Once A Time. It is autobiographical, describing the relief effort that consumed me (and the rest of New York City) during the weeks following the 9/11 tragedy.

8.
Icarus
- feat. Donny McCaslin - from  A Bit Of Light

In early 2001, I recorded Grammy award winner Donny McCaslin (playing soprano sax) in my Manhattan apartment for this tune. The album didn't come out until 2007. He won five Grammies in 2016 for Blackstar, his collaborative album with David Bowe. My friend from Texas plays guitar, John Luper.

9.
The Waitress
  from  A Bit Of Light

This song is dedicated to all the waitresses that bring belonging and humanity to so many people eating alone, which I did many times during the 1990s.

10.
Frozen Man
- by James Taylor - previously unreleased alternative take

When I first began to recover from severe lung problems, I chose a song that I my obvious breathing issue might complement. "Frozen Man" by James Taylor seemed a perfect choice, since it was a first-person story told by a 160 year old man found in the ice and brought back to life. This is my original take, before most of the coughing was removed in the mastering process. Cleaner take appears on Song of Myself.

11.
Door In My Heart
  from  A Bit Of Light

In early 2001, I wrote and recorded this in my apartment in a single day. My son, Anton, sings the highest harmony during the chorus section.

12.
Walls
- previously unreleased demo from Freedom's First Light

After a successfull run off Broadway, I rewrote Freedom's First Light to break my ties with the difficult collaborator who had rewritten my original script a year earlier. I also wanted to return the name to Robin Hood. This song ended up getting dropped in the rewrite. It is sung by Will Scarlet, the main character/narrator of Freedom's First Light. In the play, Scarlet is a flippantly sarcastic aristocrat who finds motivation after he joins the Merrie Men. He is the lead character behind the Sherwood Forest revolution against the tyranny of the day.

13.
Gethsemane Again
  from  Audiocracy: Revolution's Son

This progressive art rock piece was inspired by The Passion, especially the bits involving Jesus and Pontius Pilate. It's a turning point in the storyline of Revolution's Son, as it was the beginning of the final act for it's anticedent, a play I never finished: Dreamless. I enjoy the melodramatic/theatrical aspects of this song a great deal.

14.
When You Left
  from  A Bit Of Light

Written the year after my 19 year old sister died, this is the oldest surviving song I've written. (The first tune is lost to me, although I recall that "Eve" was in its title.) I was 16. My sister's death was the single most significant event in my artistic life. I had to include it, recorded forty-two years after it was written.

15.
What Thou Lovest Well
  from  The September 11 Project

This is another song written in the 1970s. I was moved to record it because a friend of mine wanted to sing harmonies, Joseph Gray, a singer from L.A. The lyrics were inspired by a line from Ezra Pound's Cantos 81, "what thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross."

16.
What Is this Touch
- previously unreleased demo

I wrote these lyrics for Suzanne before our wedding in 2003. The music came out of a collaboration with my nephew, pianist and music director Chris Mueller. This track was a demo given to an L.A. singer whom I haven't heard from since.

17.
Loolay Lullaby
  from  A Bit Of Light

Written in 1984 for my second son, Will, I rearranged it for multiple instruments 20 years later and included it on my 2007 album A Bit Of Light. Since I'm now a grandfather, I'm resurrecting the tune in honor of my granddaughter, Will's first born, Nora.

18.
Runners
- unreleased composer demo from  Runners In A Dream

This is an example of a pre-production demo I record for actors and music directors preparing to perform one of my musicals. I sing all the parts to model what I'm looking for, generally. I thought it would be fun to include a multi-character one to give insight into my process. Consider it a box set BONUS TRACK.

19.
Falling
  from  If I Could Live Long Enough

I wrote this song late one night in 1981. My wife came out into the living room to complain about keeping her awake. Then I sang it for her. This is me playing a nylon string guitar patch on a Korg M1 keyboard and singing.

Tobin Mueller is insanely talented and ridiculously prolific."

Mick Theebs, Beat magazine / AlsoThat.com

Guest Vocalists
20.
Seafood Gumbo
- feat. Angela Hope - from  The Muller's Wheel
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Old school jazz featuring vocals by L.A. singer Angela Hope. Appeared only on the initial digital release of The Muller's Wheel and has never been available as a separate track until now.

21.
Over The World / What Survives
- feat. Woody Mankowski - previously unreleased

Woody Mankowski sings this epic arrangement of Over The World, originally written for the Victor Frankestein character at the moment he discovers the secret of life, from my 1996 off Broadway musical Creature. This version was recorded in 1998, soprano sax also played by Mankowski. What Survives was written for the Mountain Girl to sing to the Creature, forming the second half of the medley. What Survives is reprised by the entire company later in the show, as a finalé, as well as later on this disc.

22.
A Promise
- feat. Woody Mankowski - from  If I Could Live Long Enough

Woody Mankowski sings the role of Victor Frankestein again, this time at his mother's grave side. From my 1996 off Broadway musical Creature. Tenor sax solo by Doug Schneider.

23.
When You Awake
- feat. Emily Rohm - from  If I Could Live Long Enough

Emily Rohm as the Mountain Girl singing a lullaby to the Creature. From the stage play Creature. The song was so well loved, I used it again in an early draft ofRunners In A Dream with slightly revised lyrics.

24.
Speak Truth To Power
- feat. Anton Mueller - from  Audiocracy: Revolution's Son

This rock anthem highlights my son Anton's heavy metal voice. Guitar work is by Canadian Darren Chapman. I'm singing lower harmony and playing keyboards. My favorite part is the build at 2:50, when the wall of sound is pulled back only to come back even louder...

25.
The River
- preproduction demo, feat. Gail Goebel - previously unreleased

This pre-production demo features Gail Goebel singing the part of "Heart", one of the body parts that makes its way into the Creature. It's an epic 11th-hour story-song that reveals how before her death she was betrayed by Vicor Frankenstein's older brother, Frederick. I sing the other character parts, including the chours and Frederick. From the stage play Creature. Gail never played the part on stage.

26.
Someone Else's Sky
- preproduction demo, feat. Rebekah Jacobs - previously unreleased

Rebekah Jacobs singing the part of Ilse at the beginning of Runners In A Dream, by Randyl Appel and myself. Even though she is only 8 years old, Ilse is her infant sister's main caregiver - while hiding in a basement from the Nazis. Ilse sings this song to her sister, Hilde, to comfort her. The show is based on a true story about co-creator's mother, Elli "Ilse" Appel.

27.
Let Yourself Dream
- preproduction demo, feat. Aaron Paul - previously unreleased

Aaron Paul sings this simplified version of one of my favorite stream-of-consciousness songs from the stage play Runners In A Dream. In the show, it is sung to the young heroine, Ilse. I recorded a newer version on my album Hard Place to Find, but I like this version better. Aaron played the dual role of Moses/Amichai.

28.
Wind At My Back
- preproduction demo, feat. Kacie Sheik - previously unreleased

This pre-production demo features singer-actress Kacie Sheik (sister of Duncan Shiek). She sings both parts: Harriet Tubman and Ilse. Kacie played Ilse in the original cast. From the stage play Runners In A Dream.

29.
The Letter
- preproduction demo, feat. Kacie Sheik & Julie Haubner - previously unreleased

This pre-production demo features Kacie Sheik singing the part of Ilse as she writes a letter to her mother, not knowing her mother has already been killed. The part of her mother's ghost is sung by Julie Haubner. From the stage play Runners In A Dream.

30.
In Just Moments
- preproduction demo, feat. Aaron Paul - previously unreleased

Aaron Paul playing the character Moses, singing to Ilse. This short tune is reprised several times during the show. From the stage play Runners In A Dream.

31.
I Won't Leave You
- preproduction demo - previously unreleased

This demo was recorded in 1996 and involved the characters from Creature who are still alive at the end - a multi-layered reprise/finalé. Twenty years later, the music inspired the solo piano piece I used to underscore One With Stars on Afterwords.

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Disc Three — Original Solo Piano
With Tobin Mueller’s jazz piano excursions, what first strikes the listener is not only Mueller’s skill as a pianist, but his comprehensive grasp of form and structure. His original piano compositions are imbued with a transcendent feeling for the connections between nature and music and the cyclical energy of the human experience... Genius."
Fanfare Magazine

1.
Every Night A World, Every Morning A Circus
 from  Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks

Originally used to illustrate quotations from "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, I later created this edited version without talking, letting the Oscar Peterson-inspired piano speak for itself. The music displays the upbeat fortitude, manic desperation and sometimes delusional optimism that propelled the characters of Steinbeck's novel forward.

2.
River Ice
 from  Flow

The first movement of the New England Suite, the gentle yet chord progression combines the restless/purposeful movement of New Englanders with the seasonal grace of its natural surroundings. The rhythms harken back to New England's American Indian roots, in a stylized way. The shifting meters are like patches of river ice, conforming to the shoreline, then breaking off into the current, melting, changing shape. I move through the seasons with each movement of the suite...

3.
Dignity; or, Collecting Scarves
 from  Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks

Originally used to illustrate a quotation by Dave Eggars for my 2017 album Afterwords, I later created a new version without talking, letting the piano stand by itself. The music combines old-school charm, whimsy and self-discovery.

Sonata of Quantum Entanglements
4.
Time As Emergent Phenomenon - first movement
 from  Of Two Minds
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5.
Unexpected Escape - second movement
 from  Of Two Minds
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6.
Two Minds - third movement
 from  Of Two Minds

The first movement evolves out of the chaos of creation...and time emerges. In the second movement, modal blues give way to several themes of escape and transcendence. In the third, Chopin's preludes Preludes #1 in C Major and #14 in E-Flat Minor inspire juxtaposed light-dark phrases of one another. The sonata as a whole shows Chopin's influence on my post-bop/modal New Age style.

3 pieces from Suite: Flow
7.
Curved Surfaces - sixth movement
 from  Flow
8.
Momentary Undertow - second movement
 from  Flow
9.
Yin / Yang - third movement
 from  Flow

The sixth movement of Suite: Flow is a theme and variation of the first movement, therefore I placed it first in the order of these 3 outtakes from the 6 movement suite. The second moevement is a Goldberg-esque variation of the first and sixth movements, borrowing from Impressionism, evoking a sense of undertow. Yin/Yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. It also stands for two styles of play emplyed to both deconstruct and distills the more complex chord progressions used in the other movements.

Sonata Under The Night's Sky
10.
Phases of the Moon - first movement
 from  Of Two Minds
11.
Momentary Clarity - second movement
 from  Of Two Minds
12.
The Goddess Speaks - third movement
 from  Of Two Minds

In the first movement, I present several phases of the moon. In the second, the quiet place evolves into one of Romantic power and heroic insight. In the final movement, Nyx, the goddess of the night, stands at the beginning, before there was Light. Her primordial chanting still echoes across the night sky.

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Inspired by Mulan Kundera's novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being."

14.
Starfall: Untold Reflections
 from  Of Two Minds

Full of falling stars, lullaby motifs, comet tails, and the kind of reveries only nighttime reflection can conjure.

from the song cycle Morning Whispers
15.
Under A Western Sky
 from  Morning Whispers

In memory of the many nights camping under the stars. The music pays homage to the open harmonies and spacious Americanism of Aaron Copland.

16.
Between Breaths
 from  Morning Whispers

This piece begins with variations and ends with the initial theme I had in mind. I enjoyed the inversion. The final theme arrives as a sigh. Everything before is merely thought - between breaths.

17.
Cut Flowers
 from  Morning Whispers

There is something magical yet tragic about cut flowers, taking the physical represtentation of fertility - at the height of its greatest beauty - away from its roots in an attempt to preserve it, to possess it. An excellent metaphor for a love song, no?

from the song cycle 13 Masks
18.
The Gumshow Wears a Rag
 from  13 Masks

A progressive ragtime homage to the film noir era.

19.
Two Peas In A Chili Pod
 from  13 Masks

A friend of mine (with whom I'd collaborated several times) said it was high time I write something with a Latin feel. This is as close as I could get. I especially like the ending.

20.
A Monk Caught In The Thelonious Sphere
 from  13 Masks

A blues homage to the playful earnestness of Thelonious Monk, whose middle names was actually "Sphere." I love how he plays on the edge of sanity, a perfect role model for the 13 Masks project.

21.
Stillness of Wings
 from  13 Masks

I wanted to name this "Hummingbird Dreams." I watched them in the garden - hover, dart, hover, dart. I was unable to see through their eyes. Videos of hummingbirds in slow motion left me breathless, but I couldn't imagine what the world looked like from inside their heads. Their magic is too delicate, to fast, to ephemeral to comprehend. I would not presume to know how to bring to life hummingbird dreams. But I could write about the illusion of stillness they create.

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Disc Four — Interpretive Piano
Mueller’s compositional vocabulary and his prowess as a pianist are eloquent and elegant, lively and whimsical, provocative and inspirational by turns. He proves his originality, his inquisitiveness as a musician and a thinker, with his fluid, full throttle energy. One continually has the sense that the piano is Mueller’s alter ego, and when he sits down to play, to arrange, or to improvise, he is engaging in an exciting dialogue of discovery with his inner self."

Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, author and music critic

1.
Polonaise in A-Flat Major, Op. 53
 by Chopin  -  Of Two Minds

When arranging the piece, I recalled George Sand's statement: “Vanity is the quicksand of reason,” conflating heroic posturing with vanity. Hubris and folly are sometimes the flip side of valor and daring. It is this interaction I try to illustrate by my twin-themed Tango couplet.

2.
Étude No. 5 in G-Flat Major, Op. 10
  by Chopin  -  Of Two Minds

My adaption of this étude lends it a kind of Impressionistic sensibility, with an early Jazz vibe felt mostly in the left hand rhythms. This piece is often played with a certain frantic muscularity. I tried to give it a naturalistic gracefulness.

3.
Bourée
 by J.S. Bach  -  Flow

This arrangement is in two sections. The first invokes the color of wine, blending Jazz, Blues, Impressionism. The second section is brighter, more youthful at the outset. It gently morphs back into a well-aged sentimentality.

4.
The First Noel
  from  Midwinter Born

"The First Noël" is a traditional classical English carol, most likely from the 18th century. Noël, the French word for Christmas, is from the Latin word natalis which translates as "birthday."

5.
River god at play...
 by Ravel  -  Impressions of Water and Light
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Based on Maurice Ravel's Jeux d’eau, my variations grew out of the rehearsal process, moments when I'd let myself get lost in the musical imageries. My internal fantasies lay alongside Ravel's own passages.

6.
Prelude No. 20 / Nocturne No. 2, Op. Posthumous
 by Chopin  -  Of Two Minds

I thought it fitting to place Chopin’s Prelude No. 20, “Funeral March,” as an introduction to this wonderful posthumous Nocturne published 26 years after his death. The piece was famously played by Holocaust survivor Natalia Karp for the Nazi concentration camp commandant Amon Goeth, with Goeth being so impressed with the rendition that he spared Karp's life.

7.
Prelude No. 1
 by J.S. Bach  -  Flow

The devastating simplicity and emotional power of Bach's Prelude, even without that famous melody layered over the top, is thrilling to play, an example of Bach's perfection. Still, I wanted to bring something new to the piece: a starfield of triads.

8.
Sleepers Wake
 by J.S. Bach  -  Flow
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The altered chordal harmonics accentuate the sense of sleepiness. The right hand improvisations represent the voices whispering, gently calling us to awake.

9.
Étude No. 12 in C Minor, Op. 10
 by Chopin  -  Of Two Minds
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The Revolutionary Étude was written during the November Uprising of 1831, an armed rebellion in the heartland of partitioned Poland against the Russian Empire. When Russia first invaded Poland, Chopin fled to Paris as a political exile, where he became friends with the cultural elite of the day, forever changing the trajectory of his life.

10.
Nocturne No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Op. 9
 by Chopin  -  Of Two Minds

Chopin’s Études and Préludes are perhaps his greatest contribution to the development of music. But it is his Nocturnes that best illustrate his romantic sensitivity. For me, they represent his most effortless and essential music.

11.
Berceuse in D-Flat Major, Op. 27
 by Chopin  -  Of Two Minds

A berceuse is a ‘cradle song,’ or lullaby, written for the piano. The hypnotic two chord minimalist structure portends the music of Erik Satie.

12.
Pavane
 by Fauré  -  Impressions of Water and Light

Pavane, written in 1887 by the French composer Gabriel Fauré, was originally a piano piece, but became better known after Fauré arranged it for orchestra and optional chorus. Devastatingly simple, with a gorgeous melody, it inspired both Ravel and Debussy to write a pavane of their own. My first verse speaks to the "romantic helplessness of man", which is the subject of the choral lyrics.

13.
Air
 by J.S. Bach  -  Flow

The "Air on the G String" was one of the first Bach works ever recorded, in 1902, and remains one of his most famous melodies. I can still recall the first time I heard Bach's Orchestral Suite #3. The 2nd movement "Air" left me breathless. Such grace and beauty. I hope you sense my own humility and wonder as you explore these variations.

14.
Silent Night
  from  Midwinter Born

"Silent Night" was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics penned by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. The song was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at the St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf. Young priest Father Mohr brought the words to his organist Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service. Both performed the carol during the mass on Christmas Eve.

15.
Where Is Love
— preproduction draft from Standard Deviations
Where Is Love? by Lionel Bart, from the musical Oliver!

This is a dreamy, haunting rendition 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 to present the hopeful yet chimerical context. The main body of the piece is my modal interpretation of the song, plainly played. The short coda leaves the question in the air, unresolved, as the original song surely did.

16.
Moon River / Somewhere Over the Rainbow
— preproduction draft from Standard Deviations
Moon River by Henry Mancini paired with Some Where Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen

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.

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Disc Five — Soundtracks and Electronica
A symphonic whirlwind of passion and sensations. Tight, gorgeous arrangements that used every hertz of my sound system. Flows from idea to idea like birds winging from tree to tree. A masterpiece in the Epic Prog tradition. 4 out of 5 stars."

Brian Gerhart, Progressive Magazine

1.
5X4
- feat. Shadow of Nine - previously unreleased collaboration

Progressive rock overture created through a long distance Internet collaboration with musician/composer Shadow of Nine, from Vancouver B.C. He provided all percussion and guitars, I layered in all keys.

2.
Grave Robbing
- previously unreleased soundtrack for Dreamless

Composed and recorded in 1992, this track was to provide background music to a science fiction musical I never completed. It was then going to become a soundtrack for a multi-media ebook of the same name, Dreamless, which also was never completed. It was then used as background music for the 1996 off Broadway rock opera Creature during the grave robbing sequence (which, from the point of view of the body parts taken, was a profound moment of liberation). I especially enjoy the ending.

3.
Escaping the Fray Zone
- previously unreleased soundtrack for Dreamless

Originally composed and recorded in 1992, this track was re-recorded in 1995 as underscoring for the off Broadway rock opera Creature. This new stand alone instrumental version was done in 2006, with additional piano and other instruments taking the place of vocals that had been used in the stage version. Audiocracy then used portions of the background to sing and play over for Revolution's Son. The this version layers 64 different tracks, the most complex mix I ever created.

4.
Lady of the Lake
- previously unreleased - Merlyn

Composed in 1994 and recorded in 2004, this track was to introduce the character of the Lady of the Lake in a Celtic musical I never completed, Merlyn. I have discussed dreams that helped inspire the show in my memoir Book of Dreams, pages 44-50.

5.
Merlyn's Procession
- previously unreleased - Merlyn

Composed in 1995 and recorded in 2004, this track was to underscore a triumphant scene involving Merlyn in a Celtic musical I never completed. All the instrumental sounds are played by keyboard except the hand percussion which I played and recorded by hand. I have since played this at a friend's wedding for her processional, as well.

6.
Toyland Fantasy
- feat. Jim Edwards -  Midwinter Born

A medley based on several holiday tunes, including Toyland, Carol of the Bells, She Moved Through the Fair and Auld Lang Syne. It is the Bonus Track on my Christmas album, Midwinter Born. Jim Edwards provided the original concept and guitars.

7.
What I Was Thinking While You Were Talking
- feat. Fran Dagostino -  Come In Funky

This collaboration was forged as a n experiment through the website MacJams.com in 2006. The late great guitarist Fran 'Ziti' Dagostino from Boston posted an acoustic guitar track. This track was then proccessed, flip, manipulated by 'Deputy Doofy' then passed along to me. I provided all the other editing, synth, moog, keys and producing. This was the result.

8.
Relentless Chaos of the Ocean
- previously unreleased

Written for four hands, this piano duet was created by me overtracking myself. It combines two pieces from 13 Masks into a single unique medley. It served as an intense background to a video about sailing on the ocean.

9.
Just Above The Ground
 from  Morning Whispers

This solo piano piece has been used several times as background for documentaries, once for PBS. There is a moment in one of the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (Douglas Adams) books when the hero kisses his love and they, without realizing it, float up into the air. I was thinking of that moment when I sat down to play.

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Disc Six — Spoken Word
Impressive impressions: Vocal and string vibrations of a man in and out of time. Tobin finds supernal expression... Bravo!"

Richard Schletty, Schletty Sound & Design

Del Reads Tobin's Poetry
1.
As Simple As Soap
  from  As Simple As Soap

I have tried to balance you against the weights of the world, to count you like change amid the clutter of my pockets, to fit you within the rows and columns of the daily crossword, to read you like a box score at the bottom of the screen. To find you in prayers, behind altars, between bookmarked pages. But I do not love you within the world. I love you before it. There is you. And there is the world...

...for more text, please see the complete poem: As Simple As Soap

2.
Old
  from  As Simple As Soap

Old. In one day my mother grew old...

...for more text, please see the complete poem: Old

3.
The Fall
  from  As Simple As Soap

The Fall. It is a quaint little parchment, written as if by someone just discovering the power of words and silence. The big round letters of an adolescent, shaped into a metaphor of hope, becoming the bloated lines of adulthood as I read them aloud. The last spoken words of Eden: “If only we...”...

...for more text, please see the complete poem: The Fall

4.
Wall of Heaven
  from  As Simple As Soap

there are no hand holds on the wall of heaven
nothing to grasp, nothing but my own descent...

...for more text, please see the complete poem: Wall of Heaven

5.
The Cigarette and The Actress
  from  As Simple As Soap

your hands work as if on stage
a sudden graft of someone else’s elegance
elbows relaxed and eyebrows arched
within the practiced context of props
and their finely scripted securities...

...for more text, please see the complete poem: The Cigarette and The Actress

A virtuosic pianist with a vivid imagination. Superior piano playing and well-chosen passages from literature. Highly personal music well worth exploring."

Scott Yanow, jazz historian, author of 11 books including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record

Famous Quotations (from Afterwords)
6.
Learn Something
  from  Afterwords

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or have your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never fear or distrust, never dream of regretting. Look what a lot of things there are to learn."
― T. H. White, The Once and Future King

When I first encountered Merlin giving this advice to young Arthur, he might as well have been talking directly to me. Buoyed by optimism, nostalgia, playfulness, curiosity and the power of learning, this piece has all hallmarks of the magical wizard.

7.
Real
  from  Afterwords

'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.'
― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

It wasn't only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.
― Ian McEwan, Atonement

Flourishes of garden faerie magic and childlike storytelling open the piece. Once the Wooden Horse explains the physical downsides of becoming Real, I switcheds into a more adult blues style. The bluesy middle section is a testament to the fortitude and resilience required to be Real.

8.
The Shape of Love
  from  Afterwords

To lie beside him will be sufficient for me. There will be a wall of dust between us: that is true, and he is already dust these twenty years. But some day I shall be dust too. Who is he who will affirm that there must be a web of flesh and bone to hold the shape of love?
― William Faulkner, Beyond

There is a different quality to longstanding "old" love, a different pace, expressed best by a slow waltz.

9.
The Unicorn and the Butterfly
  from  Afterwords

“I have been mortal,” said the Unicorn, “and some part of me is mortal yet. I am full of tears and hunger and the fear of death, although I cannot weep, and I want nothing, and I cannot die. I am not like the others now, for no unicorn was ever born who could regret, but I do. I regret.”

“Your name is a golden bell hung in my heart,” said the Butterfly. “I would break my body to pieces to call you once by your name.”
― Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Based on the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn, this piece combines jazz, tango and blues to create a sense of magic, struggle and redemption. In addition to motifs for the Last Unicorn and the oracle Butterfly, a bit of the menacing Red Bull has worked its way into the music, especially during the tango portions.

10.
The Space Between Chaos and Shape
  from  Afterwords

In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance.
― Jeanette Winterson, The World and Other Places: Stories

This music was originally written for a Stravinsky-like piano concerto I had begun in 2010. I completed the first movement and part of the second, then I got sick. Six years later I decided to appropriate the piano part for my solo piano / spoke word project, Afterwords. The first half of the piece is based on the concerto; the second half is new. The second half is one of my favorite pieces I've written. In fact, I released a version of Part 2 as a separate piece on Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks.

11.
Afterwords (An Epilogue)
  from  Afterwords

On a night without moon or stars you can't see a thing, but you can imagine anything.
― Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor

There's a place beyond words where experience first occurs to which I always want to return. I suspect that whenever I articulate my thoughts or translate my impulses into words, I am betraying the real thoughts and impulses which remain hidden.
― Jerzy Kosiński, The Painted Bird

I love the structure of this piece. It represents my favorite form: A melodic opening section that, when the second section begins, seems more like an introduction than an intial theme. Each transition seems to redfine the opening. As each variation is stated, the opening becomes more and more like "home," the memory every path echoes, the destination every phrase is pulled toward.

12.
Under Your Boot-Soles
  from  Afterwords

…Now I will do nothing but listen,
To accrue what I hear into this song.

My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach,
With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds.

Writing and talk do not prove me,
I carry the plenum of proof and every thing else in my face,
With the hush of my lips I wholly confound the skeptic.

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from,
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,
This head more than churches, bibles, and all creeds.
Divine am I inside and out.

I fly those flights of a fluid and swallowing soul,
My course runs below the soundings of plummets.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from under the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

― Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” (edited/rearranged), Leaves of Grass

The music under Whitman's moving words is the title track from my first solo piano album, Morning Whispers. There are two versions available of the music without talking: on Morning Whispers as well as Afterwords: Solo Piano Solo Tracks.

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Disc Seven — Children's Music
CenterStage Productions and Tobin Mueller were inducted into the United Nation's UNEP Roll of Honor in 1994 for their work on behalf of the environment and the world youth movement. But their contribution to classroom education and the empowerment of young people extends beyond that. The music they share is joyous and informative - a wonderful combination. It speaks to our future with optimism and buoyant vision."

Ingrid Kavanagh, Children's Alliance for Protection of the Environment

1.
We Are The Ones
  from  To Save The Planet

Originally written in 1993 for CAPE (Children's Alliance for Protection of the Environment), this song became the theme song for the Youth Movement of UNEP and was later incorporated into my environmental musical To Save The Planet as an encore.

2.
Give and Take
  from  Mickey Spleen Saves the Day

Mickey Spleen Saves the Day is an educational musical about human anatomy and health set in the jazz-influenced whodonit film noir world made famous by the likes of novelist Mickey Spillane. This tune features Lucy Lymphette and the Lymphette sisters as they help Mickey Spleen prepare to take on the RNA Mobsters. The male chorus are "the G.I. Guys" (for "gastrointestinal.") Written in 1993-94.

3.
I Want To Know
  from  I Want To Know!

I Want to Know! is a musical about the history of Science and Invention. This overtured song introduces the main themes. Tracks 12 & 13 (below) give examples of some of the historical moments (or eras) brought to life on stage by the young performers. Some of my musicals were meant for young kids, some for older ones. This is more a junior high/high school production. In fact, it was developed through a 3 month artist-in-residence at Polaski High Shhool, Pulaski, Wisconsin in 1991. Their voices are captured in this recording.

4.
Save The Planet
  from  To Save The Planet

My 1990 environmental musical To Save The Planet toured all around the world, was performed in by schools and drama clubs 11 different countries on 5 continents, and has been seen by over 600,000 people. It was the main reason my theatre troupe, CenterStage Productions, was inducted into UNEP's Roll of Honor in 1994. I wish you could've see these fabulous young performers sing and dance. Their earnestness and self-empowerment was inspiring to behold.

5.
In Out Shout
  from  Mickey Spleen Saves the Day

It only made sense to follow an environmental anthem with a song about breathing clean air. The Lymphette sisters re-enter the spotlight as they revive Mickey Spillane after a huge scare brought on by Vinny Virus.

6.
I'm Gonna School Ya
  from  Frankenspell Superstar

Before there was the off Broadway musical Creature there was the shorter children's theatre 1992 production Frankenspell Superstar. This song features The Mountain Girl (played by 11 year old Emily Rohm) helping the Creature learn the ways of the world. It includes a 5 year old mice chorus, mostly middle school gypsies, and a teenage Creature just learning to speak. It's an extended dance number, thus all the repeats.

7.
In The Great Dream
  from  Robin Hood and the Free People of the Forest

My production of Robin Hood put a lot of emphasis on the women of the era, since most middle and high school performers are female. In additon to the obligatory cast of Merrie Men, there was a women's chorus led by Maid Marian. The show's main character was not Robin Hood; rather, it was a fiery idealistic woman, Diana, named after the Roman goddess of the hunt. She is the one that spurs Robin to lead a revolution, to "export" the freedom of Sherwood Forest to the rest of England. This song is Marian and the women reminding Diana of the larger dream of eventual peace.

8.
We Are The Good Guys
  from  Say "Yes" to Life

"Just say no" was a big deal in the 1980s. It dominated anti-drug health classes. Say "Yes" to Life was an attempt to expand the conversation to include an honest discussion of the problems kid's face, especially family issues and peer pressure/peer encouragement. This is the first scene, showing the performers backstage as they prepared for the show. The play was endorsed by the NASADAD organization in 1989.

9.
Divide and Conquer
  from  The Sound of Money

I've been a big fan of Adam Smith, the famous Scottish economist and philosopher, since I was in my twenties. Mr. Smith himself introduces this piece. Created in collaboration with the Wisconsin Council of Economic Educators, The Sound of Money presents basic economic issues through scenes like an auction (during which money is invented to assist the exchange of goods), finding value in specific items after crashing on a deserted island, and a peak inside of a pin factory to discover the importance of the Division of Labor.

10.
Rex Rock/Is There A Hope

Kids love dinosaurs. Danger, Dinosaurs! combines current dinosaur facts (which have changed quite a bit since I was young) with important self-help tips. The play stars a tiny Tuatara who tries to warn her larger dinosaur friends about coming tragedies, all in vain. Each dinosaur ends up being killed by a different apocalyptic event (in this way the play explores the different theories regarding the dinosaurs' extinction.) But each death could've been averted if the dinsoaurs would have heeded the Tuatara's common sense advice. (Note: the tuatar predates dinosaurs historically yet has survived to this day off the coast of New Zealand.)

11.
Happy Birthday World
  from  Music of the Planets

Music of the Planets was my first children's educational musical. The overture song, Happy Birthday World, is the story of the formation of the solar system. The narrator is sung by my friend Janet Planet, a jazz/R&B singer. She sang on several of my children's albumsand always had fun singing ina completely different style than she did professionally. Personal note: this was my mother's favorite song written during the 1980s.

12.
Magic...
  from  I Want To Know!

Although it may be controversial to suggest that the origins of science can be found in "magic," that is because we define magic as slight of hand illusions nowadays. But I refer to the old world magician, the shaman, the healer, the person who reached beyond the present surface to find the causes beneath and summon the essence within. The scene goes right into the next, so please disregard the track getting cut off.

13.
...Einstein and beyond
  from  I Want To Know!

That's me singing about Einstein, one of my personal heroes. He repesents the "modern age" of science, even though I would place Galileo as the true father of the science (and maybe call Einstein the standout grandson). If I Want to Know does anything, it helps to sort out and personalize of the roots of scientific advancement. I hope it inspired several youths to persue careers in the sciences. (I'm quite pleased that my second son, Will, is an RNA researcher / molecular biologist. Personal note: he played the role of Mickey Spleen when he was 10 years old, after the guy in front of him grew up and left the troupe. Further note: the guy in front of him was Justin Leath, who eventually made it to Broadway - as did a handful of other kids from CenterStage.)

14.
Change the World
  from   Robin Hood and the Free People of the Forest

My version of Robin Hood was greatly influecned by my generation's experience in Viet Nam. There is a great deal of "collateral damage" caused by the Merrie Men's happy crusade to liberate England from evil Sir Guy of Gisborne and the Sheriff of Nottingham. There is no straight line to eventual redemption. In the end, when they sing a reprise of We Can Change the World, it is with a great deal more wisdom and measured hope then the initial version.

15.
Lay Your Burdens Down
  from   Robin Hood and the Free People of the Forest

In the original version, which this track is from, Friar Tuck is played by a fun loving male actor. When the show went to Manhattan, we changed Fria Tuck into a voluptuous earthy wicca-style woman. It added another layer of color. This song is one of the best dance numbers in the show, thus all the repeats. I think it was the kids' favorite, as well; but they mau have had more to do with the guy who played Tuck than the music itself.

16.
See Yourself Free
  from  Say "Yes" to Life

This is my composer's demo of the song that becomes the truning point in Say "Yes" to Life. The character has just witnessed a stylzed moment of potential domestic violence and is cast out onto the street. He sings the song alone as his friends can only encourage from afar.

17.
On Your Feet
  from  Say "Yes" to Life

A song of shared strength and mutual encouragement. A testimony to what theatre is. What life could be. A fitting finalé.

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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 Award.
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 Award.
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."
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 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 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.