Loading page... Wait Bar Animation
TobinMueller.com Mobile Menu Close Button Mobile Menu Button
Home Bio Recordings Music Videos Photography Writings Illustrations Contact
Jazz Fusion
Prestidigitation - contemporary fusion jazz
[preste (French) ‘nimble’ + digitus (Latin) ‘fingers’]
1)  Sleight of hand; magic performed by one’s fingers.
2)  The music of Tobin Mueller: fusing jazz, rock, funk & blues.

available on: SpotifyQobuzApple MusicAmazonPandoraDeezerYouTube Music Videos

Jump to: Track ListLiner Notes, MP3s & Videos

A jazz-fusion tour de force. The combined sense of invention fuses post-bop jazz, progressive rock, blues and funk. Phenomenal synergy!"

Jazziz magazine

Prestidigitation is Mueller's latest studio recording, presenting fresh arrangements of contemporary fusion, jazz and progressive funk. The album is a follow up to Mueller's celebrated 2018 double CD, Standard Deviations. As a crossover jazz-funk-rock collection, it has reached #13 on the Jambands chart, #14 on the College Radio chart, and several tracks have made Spotify's Best Of 2022 playlist. It's breakout single, "What Is Hip?", debuted at #5 on NACC radio chart. "Birdland/Long Distance Runaround", called "the best cover of 'Birdland' ever recorded" by All About Jazz, debuted at #8.

Standard Deviations focused on the greatest songs from the first generation of jazz masters. Now, Mueller turns his attention to the second generation...

Snatches energy out of the universe and tosses it around like a meteor shower! Fusion jazz at its best. It reminds me of the days when Herbie Hancock’s Headhunter album was blowing our minds. It wreaks of that kind of inspiration."

- Dee Dee McNeil, Musical Memoirs

Prestidigitation celebrates the founders of fusion, including: Weather Report, Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters and Chick Corea's Return to Forever. In addition, he covers cross-over funk masters Tower of Power, Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone. Frank Zappa also makes the cut, an artist whose compositions expanded the boundaries of fusion over several decades. The same goes for Yes and Happy the Man, two progressive rock bands who often incorporated jazz influences into their innovative music. Not to be forgotten, important precursors John Coltrane and Bill Evans supply their own brand of timeless elegance. Lastly, Mueller contributes an original piece just for the album, the title track: "Prestidigitation".

American keys man takes a punchy, personal view of fusion and soul classics. One of the best albums of 2022."

Jazz Journal

Jazz was, originally, the popular music of its day. The era of 60s-70s experimentation recombined jazz with the new popular music: rock 'n roll. Fusing jazz with electrified rock amped up the energy levels, creating new sound pallets. Cuban, African and Brazilian rhythms merged with blues, soul and especially funk. Classically trained jazz virtuosos pushed the boundaries of progressive composition.

For Mueller, however, the Fusion Era meant even more. It was a time for erasing boundaries, not just musically but culturally, socially and politically. Musicians didn’t care about skin color, who appropriated what from whom, or what generation you were born into. Every player knew they stood on the shoulders of giants, regardless of background. Their only responsibility was to forge something new.

Joy, exploration, enthusiasm and shared inspiration took precedence over form and expectation. The future was born every day, anew. The spirit of improvisation breathed freshness into every live performance.

Extremely impressive body of work from a one-of-a-kind artist. An amazing album. Joyous. Vibrant. Fascinating. Joining Tobin on this high-energy project are guitarist-extraordinaire Paul Nelson and a dream-team of musicians! Exploring all of the facets of this project is well-worth the time! Check it out!!!"

Kathy Parsons, full review: MainlyPiano.com

The album features one of today's top contemporary guitarists, Paul Nelson. He's worked with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Slash, Leslie West, Joe Bonamassa, Ben Harper, Dr. John, Joe Walsh and dozens more. He has the distinction of being the hand-picked successor to legendary rock/blues icon Johnny Winter. Nelson received a "Best Blues Album of the Year" Grammy for "Step Back" and has been nominated for several other efforts. He blends metal and blues, progressive rock and jazz, bringing an element of virtuosity to each track he plays on. Nelson also appears on Standard Deviations.

Tobin is a musical genius and a breath of fresh air to the jazz rock fusion world. His writing, arranging and performance skills are ahead of their time. Every player is so good, I’m honored to be a part of it. The drumming is phenomenal. The sax is Wayne Shorter/Paul Desmond level. The horns channel Miles. Keyboards are fiercely dynamic and innovative. Tobin is a master at his craft and I'm excited to have contributed to this amazing release."

Paul Nelson, Grammy-winning guitarist

In addition to guitarist Paul Nelson, the album features: David Dejesus, director of the Birdland Jazz Club, on saxophone; Mikie Martel on trumpet (Nashville's "The Sanctuary"); Bill Barner on clarinet (Blue Basement, Ten Tunes); El Caballero percussionist Ruben de Ruiter on congas (Amsterdam Funk Orchestra, Zitakula, The John Patitucci Band); Mueller's longtime collaborator Woody Mankowski on vocals (What Survives, Muller's Wheel, Ebunctions); and newcomer Isaiah Schmidt (Berklee College of Music) on drums. Mankowski also plays soprano sax on the opening track, with Lamar Moore (Lettuce, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe) on drums. Jazz and Broadway vocalist Emily Rohm (Traveling Show), with whom Mueller has work for decades, makes a cameo appearance on "Sorceress" (track 7) as well.

Jaw dropping. Searing guitar. Gripping, sexy sax riffs. Stealing the show once again, Tobin Mueller performs on the keyboard, fusing funk, jazz, progressive metal into a masterpiece of arranging."

- Blow Ya Speakers

Mueller plays a wide variety of keys on the album, a tribute to the era as well as his versatility as a player, arranger and composer. Both Wurlitzer and Rhodes keyboards are put into frequent action, sometimes filtered through fascinating gear. The distinctive clarity of the DX7 is featured on a few tunes, as well. Vintage synths used include: ARP 2600, Planet, ES2, clavichords and Moog. The B3 organ is front and center on several tracks. The grand piano, Mueller's forte, is combined with other acoustic instruments to create fascinating layers: celeste, dulcitone, harmonium, glockenspiel, even tubular bells. Mueller also plays bass on every track, employing a mix of Trilian acoustic, fretless and electric basses.

Now that’s what I call getting the band back together! Totally f’n love it!! This is really the best thing I’ve put my ears to in a very, very long time. Super tight, super pro, wonderful interpretations, stellar musicianship all around, incredibly produced, this is jazz at its absolute finest. Kudos!

Birdland/Runaround is a stunning start. Then you roll right through the totally hip and grungy What Is Hip, slide into the ether with Watermelon Man, before cracking the plastic on the super funky Thank You. The original Prestidigitation careens off the rails like ELP crashing into Frippian polyrhythmic magic! Excellent work, or did I say that already?"

Blaine Transue, KSVY 91.3 FM

“Improvising on these tunes constructed a sanctuary of delight inside of me,” Mueller writes. “I hope the depth of my enjoyment shines through the music.”

I might not be the best one to write about someone as brilliant as Tobin Mueller. Visit his website and you feel a sense of psychedelia and wizardry. He, in fact, looks like a wizard and, in terms of his fluid, crazy great compositions, I guess he is. I am not a jazz cat but pushing play shot adrenalin through me and sparked the synapses in my brain like an electric short circuit, in the best possible way.

I love dirty electric piano/organ tones. From the onset Mueller drives a deep groove. Isaiah Schmidt's explosive splashy drumming is brilliant. This is a mind fusion, a synergistic collision with all the other components like the horn explosions courtesy of David Dejesus on saxes and Mikey Martel's supporting brass. A cross-generational, cross-genre'd nu-jazz fusion I am at a loss to fully explain. It is beautifully explosive and fucking badass!"

Robb Donker Curtius, American Pancake

Produced by Kenny Cash, Factory Underground Studios; Ben McNamera, Tom Stewart audio engineers; Dan Walter, Joshua Dyke assistant engineers. Cover art by Jim Weidert. Photos taken by John Shyloski. Guzman Gonzalez video consultant. Editor: Pam Pia. PR: Marc Alan, Evan Katz. Special thanks: Suzanne DelTufo, Amy Holomakoff, Bill Bletzinger.

Nothing short of excellent. Tobin Mueller, who has performed across the entire spectrum of jazz, combines genres to recreate eleven jazz-fusion classics."

O's Place Jazz Magazine
Prestidigitation Players

Previous releases of similar music by Mueller: What Survives, Come In Funky, Muller's Wheel, Wonder, Standard Deviations.

SOUNDTRACK TO THE PLUGGED-IN 70s… Mueller brings back the sounds of the funkified 1970s. Paul Nelson’s guitar gets gritty as he sears through the horns and beat of What Is Hip and veers around the looking glass of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. Mueller provides an irresistible bass line to the clever medley of Birdland/Long Distance Runaround while DeJesus’ flute floats over a tropical and sweaty Watermelon Man. Bill Barner’s oozing clarinet mellows out on Giant Steps. Martel’s trumpet splats and steams through Frank Zappa’s King Kong and Sly Stones' Thank You with the team getting into the intergalactic world on Mueller’s own title tune. There’s even a gospel’d take of America that has Woody Mankowski testifying to the lyrics. A nice reflection of when America plugged in and spaced out, at least together."

George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly
Track List
• Birdland (Weather Report) / Long Distance Runaround (Yes)
• What Is Hip (Tower of Power)
• Watermelon Man (Herbie Hancock)
• Thank You (Sly & The Family Stone)
• Contemporary Insanity (Happy the Man)
• Prestidigitation (Tobin Mueller)
• Sorceress / One Step (Chick Corea)
• King Kong (Frank Zappa)
• Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
• Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
• America (My Country 'Tis of Thee) / Peace Piece (Bill Evans)

This well traveled keyboard man probably had a big smile on his face when he sat down to map this set out. He looks at things with a progressive edge but wraps it all up in fun, funky fusion. Sets like this make you give three cheers…!"

Chris Spector, Midwest Record
Liner Notes, Videos and MP3s
Birdland / Long Distance Runaround
Birdland - by Joe Zawinul from Weather Report;
Long Distance Runaround - by Jon Anderson from Yes

Combining Birdland (fusion jazz) and Long Distance Runaround (progressive rock) into a seamless medley is a fitting way to begin this album. Fusion and progressive rock developed simultaneously, by players who were purposefully overlapping genres. They were on a quest for music innovation and originality. Themes from each tune converge throughout, especially during Mueller's supremely intense piano solo. A joyous celebration of stamina and talent!

This is a completely remastered version of a recording first released on Standard Deviations. The piano, bass and organ have been enhanced. Different percussion choices were also made (among the many percussion instruments utilized).

• Woody Mankowski: soprano saxes
• Tobin Mueller: acoustic piano, Wurlitzer & Rhodes electric pianos, B3 organ, synth, Trilian electric bass
• Lamar Moore: drums, congas, cow bells, claves, shaker, triangle, wind chimes

"Tobin Mueller mixes intricacies and joy to create a marvelously seamless medley! Epic and fun!" - That New Hype

Featured on All About Jazz Song of the Day. "It could be the best Birdland cover ever recorded."

What Is Hip
by Emilio Castillo & Stephen "Doc" Kupka (with David Garibaldi)

Back in 1973, Tower of Power's "What Is Hip" was originally labeled R&B. But it's frenetic funk attitude transcends genres. Mueller has given the tune with a New Orleans vibe, especially via the drum groove commandingly played by Isaiah Schmidt.

Mueller's overdriven electric piano pushes the tune into the fusion realm, complemented by Paul Nelson's prog metal guitar work. Mueller's solo creates a sense of reckless abandoned, punctuated by tumultuous horn stabs led by David Dejesus' featured baritone sax. But the track doesn't hit its fevered high until Nelson's guitar solo. It comes to a head at the 5:16 mark, blowing the listener away with passion and fire.

Epic. One of the highlights of the album. This recording may be Nelson's best performance ever captured on tape.

• Paul Nelson: electric guitar
• Tobin Mueller: B3 organ, Rhodes & Wurlitzer electric pianos, Trilian electric bass
• David Dejesus: baritone, tenor saxes
• Mikie Martel: brass section
• Isaiah Schmidt: drums

"Another great single from new album Prestidigitation. Jaw dropping. Searing guitar. Gripping, sexy baritone sax riffs. A masterpiece of arranging. The music video is loaded with great visuals, meant to offer a fun walk through time and explore our unique and ever-changing culture! - Blow Ya Speakers music blog

Featured on All About Jazz Video of the Day. "High energy funk-soul classic. Fresh arrangement creates a sense of reckless abandonment. Newcomer Isaiah Schmidt's drumming is spectacular."

Watermelon Man
by Herbie Hancock

This is Herbie Hancock's first hit, from his 1962 hard bop album, Takin' Off, released when he was 22 years old. Fresh from working with Miles Davis, Hancock imbues Watermelon Man with elements of bebop, R&B and blues. In this version, multiple solos by David Dejesus (flute/sax) and Paul Nelson (electric guitar) highten the sense of blues and fusion jazz. A Cuban flare is added by hand percussionist Ruben de Ruiter.

The arrangement is a bit more psychedelic and fuller than the original, utilizing a larger band. It starts with Hancock's recognizable introduction: a growing chorus of wind instruments that represent an expanding throng of morning street vendors. The piece keeps adding players and rhythms until it becomes an urban cacophony. The climax resembles fusion rock more than jazz, then slowly recedes into dusky blues at the end of the day.

David Dejesus' opening and closing flute solos are a true highlight. Mueller's use of two fretless bass lines drives the entire arrangement. Paul Nelson's guitar work weaves in and out in unpredictable ways, adding constant spice. His short duet with Dejesus' sax in the middle of the piece is particualrly pleasing. The combination of Ruben de Ruiter's conga and Isaiah Schmidt's drumming gives the tightly arranged piece a sense of evanescent improvisation.

• Paul Nelson: electric guitar
• Tobin Mueller: Wurlitzer electric piano, B3 organ, harmonium, recorders, penny whistle, Trilian fretless basses
• David Dejesus: flute, alto sax
• Ruben de Ruiter: congas, bongos
• Kenny Cash: tambourine, shaker, clapping
• Isaiah Schmidt: drums

Featured on All About Jazz Song of the Day. "Fabulous new arrangement."

Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
by Sly Stone (a/k/a Sylverster Stewart)

Paul Nelson's sleek blues/rock performance helps transform this funk classic into a fusion knockout. Combined with Mueller's wah-wah clavichord and B3 organ, a simple tune turns into a spellbinding journey worthy of the "prestidigitation" designation.

Sly and the Family Stone was one of the hippest bands of all-time. Known for their high energy experimentation, they helped accelerate the burgeoning jazz fusion scene of the time. Sly influenced the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. But his affect on culture was even more important (for example, fielding a band with a white drummer and a female trumpet player). He has been called "the founder of progressive soul".

Although Paul Nelson's double-octave guitar and Mueller's organ solos lend the recording incredible power, it may be the chill moments of the piece that are most memorable. Nelson's decision to use a straight tone in his internal riffs, Mueller's incredibly detailed wah-wah articulations and Mikie Martel's layered trumpet solo give this arrangement true personality.

• Paul Nelson: electric guitars
• Tobin Mueller: Planet clavichord, Rhodes electric piano, B3 organ, Trilian acoustic bass
• Mikie Martel: solo trumpet, brass section
• David Dejesus: alto, tenor, baritone saxes
• Isaiah Schmidt: drums

Featured on All About Jazz Song of the Day.

Hip, sleek funk-jazz take on Sly Stone's classic. Paul Nelson's guitar performance makes this simple tune transcend. Nelson uses both single tone & double octave settings to alternate between prog power & slinky blues. Mueller's wah-wah clavichord sets the tone; his Medeski-like organ solo sizzles. Mueller's acoustic bass playing is also stellar, full of personality and grit. Isaiah Schmidt's drumming is superb. A spellbinding journey worthy of the "prestidigitation" designation, full of emotional hills and valleys, surging energy and laid-back cool moments. Magical."

All About Jazz
Contemporary Instanity
by David Rosenthal (Happy the Man)

The song is written in multiple meters, a technique that adds to the piece's off-balance unpredictability. The arrangement folds in saxophones to give it more of a jazz flair. Prog-metal guitar tilts it toward the fusion category. Add this to Happy the Man's original concept of layered synths and the result is an extra degree of insanity!

Isaiah Schimidt's drumming is particually stellar on this track. His performnce is actually double tracked, combining two passes left and right, contributing to the exceptional stereo quality of the recording. Paul Nelson's superb guitar articulates the unstable nature of modern delirium while simultaneously making sense of the constantly changing meter. Mueller's duel Moog lead is certifiably schizophrenic.

"Contemporary Insanity" represents the disordered striving for coherence in a world that swings from crisis to hallucination, from deafening propaganda to driven-to-the-fringe truths. It's sense of perilousness and hysteria is timeless, even as it directly speaks to a post-modern audience. The piece was written in 2004, making it neo-fusion (even though the band formed in 1973), the second most contemporary piece in the collection (after Mueller's title track).

• Paul Nelson: electric guitar
• David Dejesus: soprano, tenor saxes
• Tobin Mueller: Rhodes & Wurlitzer electric pianos, dulcitone, Moog synths, ES2 synth bass
• Isaiah Schmidt: drums

"Along with a talented cast of individuals, including David Dejesus on sax and Isaiah Schmidt on drums, Tobin Mueller and Paul Nelson have created a truly impressive work of art!" - Stereo Bangers

by Tobin Mueller

Mueller’s title track combines psychedelic rock, classical orchestral technique and post-bop jazz, demonstrating how disparate elements can coalesce into a seamless whole. At times, one section leads smoothly into the next. Other times, the sudden change of styles leaves you breathlessly soaring over new vistas, as if being vaulted over the side of a cliff in a glider.

One of the most important elements that enables this piece to cohere is the stellar drumming of Isaiah Schmidt. Elements of a classic march merge with arena rock and progressive jazz to tie every section together.

Solos flow back and forth between Mueller’s myriad keyboards, his warm fretless bass work and Paul Nelson’s multiple guitars. Nelson's driving rhythmic guitar provides constant forward momentum. Each change is an inevitable conclusion to the climax that preceded it. The range of style and virtuosity displayed by each performer is thrilling.

The duet between Paul Nelson’s guitar and Tobin Mueller's electric piano midway through the song is one of the most moving moments on the album. As Mueller's soaring fretless bass takes over, he stears the devolving melody back into the main theme. Wonderful.

Perhaps more than any other track on the album, this recording highlights the talent of audio engineer and producer Kenny Cash. Using panning and effects, Cash balances 3 guitar parts, 2 bass lines, multiple keyboards, several synth patterns and complex percussion, yet the music never seems cluttered or overwhelming. Cash also adds orchestral percussion to give the piece grace and grandness. This piece may take a few listens for you to appreciate it’s multi-layered elegance.

• Tobin Mueller: Rhodes & Wurlitzer electric piano, analog synths, Trilian fretless bass, Trilian Fender bass
• Paul Nelson: electric guitars
• David Dejesus: alto saxes
• Kenny Cash: tubular bells, crotales, gong
• Isaiah Schmidt: drums

Sorceress / One Step
by Lenny White / Chick Corea

The arrangement combines “Sorceress” from Romantic Warrior (1976), Return to Forever’s best selling and final album, with “One Step” from Friends, winner of “Best Jazz Instrumental” Grammy (1979). Mueller extracts specific parts from each, deviating quite a bit from the originals.

Instead of deploying each song's main theme, Mueller utilizes Corea’s piano solo from the middle of “Sorceress” and Joe Farrel’s soprano sax solo from “One Step” as melodies. However, it is the addition of polyphonic vocals, sung by Woody Mankowski and Emily Rohm, that truly sets this arrangement apart.

Mankowski’s voice is ethereal. His layered harmonies shift like flames against a night sky, setting the scene. Mankowski acts as the Shaman preparing the way for the Sorceress later in the piece. His Brazilian influenced R&B is augmented by the addition of Ruben de Ruiter’s quinto, congas and shekere hand percussion.

The insertion of “One Step” serves as an extended bridge, allowing the title character to enter the story. Emily Rohm’s bewitching jazz vocals combine innocence and sensuality, bringing the Sorceress to life. The two vocalists intertwine at song's end with magical symmetry.

Mueller’s elegant electric piano solo midway through is another highlight, one of the better solos on the album.

Mueller tells visual and emotional stories with his music, even when no lyrics are involved. His music has often been referred to as “narrative”. This track is an excellent example.

• Woody Mankowski: Vocals
• Emily Rohm: Vocals
• Tobin Mueller: acoustic piano, Rhodes & Wurlitzer electric pianos, Trilian electric basses
• Paul Nelson: electric guitar
• Ruben de Ruiter: congas, quinto, shekere
• Isaiah Schmidt: drums

All About Jazz Video of the Day: "Sensuous, polyphonic jazz vocal medley. A magical fusion of styles, scatting, improvisation and intricate arranging."

King Kong
by Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa composed this instrumental track "King Kong" for his 1967 album Lumpy Gravy. The composition quickly became a concert and fan favorite. It went through at least 15 different versions on multiple Zappa releases. Many versions verge on chaos, incorporating wild solos and large improvising ensembles.

The song is also infamous, due to Zappa’s dispute with John Lennon. Zappa brought the tune to a 1971 jam session at the Fillmore East. The Plastic Ono Band included it on Some Time In New York City but failed to mention it was Zappa’s song. “I don’t know whether it was Yoko’s idea or John’s, but they changed the name of the song to ‘Jamrag,’ gave themselves writing and publishing credit, and never paid me,” Zappa remarked. “It was obviously not a jam session song: It’s got a melody, it’s got a bass line; it’s obviously an organized song. Little bit disappointing.”

Mueller's version is far more cinematic and tonal, almost orchestral. The 3/4-multiple meter is graceful yet lurching, reminding one of a giant moving gorilla. Isaiah Schmidt’s jungle rhythms add to the illusion. The track includes the largest ensemble on the album, in keeping with the larger-than-life title. Multiple flutes, a full sax section, full brass and multiple clarinets are supported by layered keyboards, acoustic bass and drums, not to mention a very Zappa-esque guitar part.

Solos by Mikie Martel and Paul Nelson are highlights. Martel’s Miles-like trumpet solo (both takes used, making it a duet with himself) is adroitly set up by Mueller’s keys and Dejesus’ alto sax. Then Nelson’s untamed guitar takes over, shifting focus to the feral freedom of the deep wilderness. We are reminded of King Kong at the height of his power, before his tragic end.

The tracks is also an excellent example of how Mueller can reshape a composition into something new, while somehow bringing out the essence of the original, albeit in unique ways. There is something quintesssentially "Zappa" about this recording, while also being distinctly "Mueller".

• Mikie Martel: trumpets
• David Dejesus: flutes; alto, tenor, baritone saxes
• Bill Barner: clarinets
• Paul Nelson: electric guitar
• Tobin Mueller: B3 organ, DX7 & Wurlitzer electric pianos, synths, Trilian acoustic bass
• Isaiah Schmidt: drums

Giant Steps
by John Coltrane

This may be John Coltrane’s most famous composition. Released in 1960, it revolutionized jazz, harmonically. The chord changes cycle through several keys, continually shifting the tonal center. It created an entirely new post-bop subgenre (in which Mueller has written dozens of piano pieces, see: Instead of Heaven).

Although Coltrane’s original version is mid-tempo, the piece is often played fast, in order to show off one’s skill and improvising brilliance. Mueller, instead, opts for refinement and ease in this smooth and effortless-sounding version. His arrangement transforms it into a waltz. Bill Barner’s fluid clarinet flows with avian artistry. Ruben de Ruiter’s responsive conga playing provides extra elegance.

The way this difficult piece is made to seem like a simple, comforting interlude makes it a perfect bridge between the large ensemble on “King Kong” preceding it and the climactic “Superstition” which follows.

• Bill Barner: clarinet
• Tobin Mueller: Rhodes electric piano, Trilian fretless bass
• Ruben de Ruiter: congas, cymbal, wind chimes

All About Jazz Song of the Day: "Inventive. A wonderfully romantic interlude amidst the high energy onslaught of blistering covers."

by Stevie Wonder (a/k/a Stevland Morris)

"Superstition" was the lead single from Stevie Wonder’s fifteenth studio album, Talking Book (1972), and won him 2 Grammies. It was his first #1 single in nine years, a welcomed triumph. But it was its use of electric clavichord that changed funk pop for years to come. (Mueller employs a wah wah clavichord to great effect in track 4, “Thank You”, as well.)

Mueller accentuates jazz stylings over pop in this expressive arrangement, capturing a sense of mystery missing in the original. David Dejesus’ sax, Mikey Martel’s trumpet, and Mueller's keyboards are highlighted. But it is Paul Nelson’s guitar that propels the music squarely into the fusion realm.

Ruben de Ruiter’s hand percussion deserves special mention. Throughout the album he displays vitality and virtuosity on congas, but his judicious use of finger cymbals and tambourine on this track are ingenious. The subtle difference he makes to each piece is much appreciated.

The most interesting part of this recording, however, may be the arrangement itself. All of the solos fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, building to a penultimate crowning moment for the album. Mueller matches Wonder's swagger with mystical awe and Big Band pizzazz. There is a sense of anticipation and impenetrability throughout. It illustrates the idea of "superstition" even more than the original.

• Tobin Mueller: acoustic piano, Planet clavichord, Rhodes electric piano, B3 organ, Trilian acoustic bass
• Paul Nelson: electric guitar
• Mikie Martel: trumpets, brass section
• David Dejesus: alto, tenor, baritone saxes
• Ruben de Ruiter: congas, quinto, finger cymbals, tambourine
• Isaiah Schmidt: drums

Featured on All About Jazz Video of the Day. "Hip and ethereal jazz-funk. An extremely well-crafted instrumental arrangement, balanced, inventive."

America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)
America - traditional; arrangement inspired by
Peace Piece (Bill Evans)

The beautiful setting for this unique version of America was inspired by Bill Evan's contemplative composition "Peace Piece" (1958). Mueller had originally titled it "Peace Piece America", but the simpler "America" prevailed. Evans' original tune repeats the same chords without variation; Mueller cycles through several progressions, adding drama and intricacy.

Woody Mankowski's intimate vocals elevate the arrangement further. He masterfully merges R&B, jazz and patriotic reverence. Mueller's layered keyboards, bells and synths add even more dimension. This stunning rendition is a quiet yet powerful ending to Mueller's final studio release.

Lyrics originally written by Samuel Francis Smith. Additional lyrics added by abolitionist A. G. Duncan. Final verse taken from others added for George Washington's Centennial.

• Woody Mankowski: vocals
• Tobin Mueller: Wurlitzer electric pianos, celeste, toy piano, glockenspiel, ARP 2600, ES2 synths, Trilian acoustic bass

"Elements of hope, nostalgia, sensuality and admiration flow through this performance. It will reorder your day, your mind, your spirit." - Playlist Envy

"America" is mellow and introspective, will carry listeners away and reignite the hope and freedom they feel as citizens of the United States. The music video, featuring impressive shots of the American landscape, matches the slow and peaceful nature of the song perfectly." - Industry Reviewz
Tobin in his D&D Wizard Hat
$page->display(); ?>?>