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What Survives
What Survives - Volume 1 and Volume 2 - Radio Edits
What Survives Cover
in progress

Jump to:  Volume 1  •  Volume 2  •  Radio Edits  •  The Ensemble

You want ambition? Look no further than this 2-disc set by Tobin Mueller. He works like a mad scientist, like Dr. Frankenstein himself. His music is filled with lyricism and reflection, invention and new creation. With fellow lab partners, he puts on goggles and gives new allure to what began as a Broadway show ("Creature") but ended up as a Jazz Masterpiece."

George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

What Survives is a collection of original jazz recordings from Tobin Mueller's Creature Sessions. For the first time, all of the vocal tracks have been included with the jazz ensemble recordings. Even some of the composer demo's appear (on Volume 2). The digital release of What Survives includes 26 tracks spread over 2 volumes. The hard copy release -- What Survives - Radio Edits -- condenses the project down to 18 tracks, edited for radio play. [Radio Edits]

Liner notes (below) describe the stories behind the music, as well as insights into the players. Free MP3s are also available to both stream and download. Please check them out.

Yet another demonstration of Tobin Mueller’s multi-faceted artistry. A vibrant musical experience overflowing with life and attitude!"
- Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano

Many of these tracks were previously released in 2008 along with The Rain Bather Sessions, a three day recording marathon that brought together an all-star ensemble, including Grammy winners Ken Schaphorst and Sal Giorgianni, along with nominated players like drummer Dane Richeson and trumpeter Bob Levy. For What Survives, however, every track has been remastered and many include additional layers of new keyboard/synth work, resulting in a warm and lively sound.

Although Tobin's keyboards provide the foundation for most of these arrangements (many augmented by the superb piano playing of his nephew, Chris Mueller), the focal point of several tracks is saxophonist and vocalist Woody Mankowski, Tobin's long-time collaborator. Woody Mankowski and Tobin Mueller have teamed up on many albums, including Come In Funky (featuring Ron Carter), The Muller's Wheel, and Standard Deviations. But as a featured vocalist and saxophonist, this album displays his best work.

Mankowski has played on a few of Mueller's non-jazz albums as well, including If I Could Live Long Enough and A Bit of Light. Mankowski is currently working in L.A. as both a singer and saxophonist. We hope they combine efforts on Tobin's next rumored project, Prestidigitation (a follow up to 2018's Standard Deviations).

One of the freshest and most sheerly entertaining, intriguing and exciting recordings I've come across. The product of Tobin Mueller's kaleidoscopic mind. Primarily utilizing jazz arrangements of songs written for Mueller's Broadway play, Creature -- itself based on Frankenstein -- What Survives compositions range from progressive big band to funk, fusion to world to to straight ahead jazz. This cascade of styles could be wearisome, but not in the hands of this sensitive composer, who moves the listener assuredly through the paces... Highly recommended."
- Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net

Creature is a Broadway show written by Mueller back in 1995, based on a one-act musical composed in 1992, Frankenspell Superstar. Creature was performed at the John Houseman Theatre and the off-broadway venue The Thirteenth Street Theatre and ran for an extended 18 month run. It is a progression rock/jazz fusion musical/opera that updates the Frankenstein story. Sympathetic to The Creature, it presents a young Victor Frankenstein trying to heroically overcome death yet getting sidetracked due to his (and his fiance's) ambitions. The Creature escapes Frankenstein's castle into the terrifying freedom of the hills. Luckily, he meets a young girl who shows him the ropes of survival. However, in Mueller's version, the Creature is not immortal; rather, he was never meant to last forever. He is merely a prototype. Once the Creature discovers that he is decaying, the mountain girl suggests he confront his creator and ask to be healed. The show ends in tragedy as the Creature sacrifices himself to save the mountain girl from the collapsing, burning castle. For information and music from the original show, see Frankenspell Superstar/Creature.

Every track linked below is both streamable and downloadable. Shortened alternative takes from the Radio Edits CD are also available.

The jazz styles merge contemporary, progressive, big band, fusion, standard and funk, giving this collection a lively, upbeat feel. Mueller plays organ, synthesizer, electric and acoustic pianos with eloquence. The ensemble is exquisite, with a few noteable moments: Woody Mankowski provides a driving saxophone solo in Cliff’s Edge, Dane Richeson drums vibrantly in Finding No Path, and Ron Carter's cameo enlivens Frankenfanny. The combination of acoustic and electric instruments adds to the variety, energy, and sheer delight of the album. The recording has a vibrant club-like ambiance, and the extended play is an added bonus."
- Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, Fanfare Magazine
The Ensemble

Tobin Mueller - B3 organ, electric piano, acoustic piano, composer-director
Woody Mankowski - soprano saxophone, vocals
Tom Washatka - tenor saxophone
Doug Schneider - tenor sax
Ken Schaphorst - flugelhorn
Bob Levy - trumpet
Dane Richeson - drums & percussion
Jeff Cox - acoustic bass
Chris Mueller - acoustic piano

Additional contributions from:
Bill Barner - clarinet
Martyn Kember-Smith - fiddle
Ron Carter - bass
Emily Rohm - vocals
Jessica Flood - vocals
The CenterStage Players

An amazing jazz amalgam that showcases the great players Mueller records with. It captures at its zenith Mueller’s genius ability to dance in and out of motifs and themes, grooves and genres. He makes his unique takes on jazz sound effortless, expansive, beautiful and awesome..."

John LaMantia, contributing critic for Downbeat Magazine

VOLUME 1

01. Cliff’s Edge
02. Secret of Life
03. A Promise
04. Lightning Strikes
05. Must Go Back
06. What Is the Shape of My Life
07. I Wanna Fly
08. Frankenfanny
09. Dreams (When You Awake to Me)
10. Caught in the Current
11. Waltzing Night Into Day
12. What Survives

VOLUME 2

13. One Body of Man - A Duet
14. Do I Know Him?
15. Finding No Path
16. Resurrection Witch
17. River Runs Through Me
18. The River Never Stops (composer’s demo)
19. Windowshade
20. Frankenspell Superstar (abridged)
21. Bring the Fire / Over the World (alt. version)
22. I Am (One Voice)
23. Gonna School Ya
24. This Is It (composer’s demo)
25. Dreams (reprise)
26. Dénouement

The album is produced by Factory Underground Studio, remastered by Tom Stewart and Tobin Mueller. Original recordings conducted by L.A. Sound at Lawrence University, Larry Darling, engineer. Additional mixing and mastering by Tom Washatka and Tobin Mueller.

All songs by Tobin Mueller.
©1992, 1995, 2008-2009, 2020 Tobin Mueller.

Volume One
1.
Cliff's Edge
Full Ensemble, featuring: Doug Schneider, tenor sax; Woody Mankowski, soprano saxophone; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ

. . .
Radio Edit version (from the Radio Edits CD)

Many characters in the Frankenstein story walk a cliff’s edge. In fact, Mary Shelley's novel ends with Victor chansing his Creature along the literal cliffs of Antarctica. However, this track refers to more metaphorical cliffs, made of ambition, hubris and the arrogant pursuit fo genius. The melody is based on the tune "This One" (from the Broadway version), in which the spirits of the dead size up the potential changes Victor Frankenstein may bring into their lilves.* Victor is an interloper in the grave yard, digging up body parts and taking them into his lab. There is something about this one that convinces the spirits to help him, to play along, mostly in the hopes of somehow rejoining the living and have one more chance at redemption.

*The spirits in Creature form the chorus. They represent the dead who were associated with the specific body parts brought back to life within the body of The Creature. (In the previous one-act version of the show, titled Frankenspell Superstar, the chorus was made up of a band of female gypsies. Creature presented a darker, expanded adaptation of the Frankenstein story.


"A jazz-fusion tour de force. Each spin and turn opens the door to a new interpretive wrinkle that is sure to delight."
- The Cool Noise

2.
Secret of Life
Quintet: Bill Barner, clarinet; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Dane Richeson, drums

The melody is from a scene in Creature where Victor Frankenstein comes up with the theory that unlocks the secret of life. This arrangement takes us on nore of a jazz-oriented journey of shifting keys and new beginnings. Throughout the album, What Survives rotates between full ensemble pieces and breakout quartets and quintets. This is the first of the breakout small group moments. To hear the original melody, please see "Frankenspell Superstar" track 20, below, as sung by the Gypsy Chorus.

3.
A Promise
Quintet: Woody Mankowski, vocals; Doug Schneider, tenor sax; Mueller, acoustic piano; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Dane Richeson, drums

. . .
Radio Edit version (from the Radio Edits CD)

This soliloquy is sung by young Dr. Victor Frankenstein at his mother's grave. His mother died in childbirth, after having him. Victor resolves to create a "world of change and promise", to conquer death. For complete lyrics, see: A Promise - lyrics. The promises discussed are many: promises to those who came before us, promises we make to ourselves, the promise our very birth carries with it, as well as promises never fulfilled...

Woody Mankowski's touching vocal performance brings this poignant internal discussion to life. Doug Schneider's masterful tenor sax solo adds new layers of depth to the moment.

4.
Lightning Strikes
The Ensemble, featuring: Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Bob Levy, trumpet; Ken Schaphorst, fuglehorn

This track is actually taken from the Overture to Creature. But as lightening becomes a repeating device throughout the story, it fits in sedveral other places as well. Placing it after the moving ballad, A Promise, snaps the listener out of any sense of certainty or quiet that may have been temporarily embraced.

The Ensemble recreates an atmosphere of directed chaos, the frenetic intensity the drives much of the action on stage as well as the ferocity and passion inside Victor Franksenstein's head.

5.
Must Go Back
Quartet: Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Dane Richeson, drums

. . .
Radio Edit version (from the Radio Edits CD)

Extending the intensity presented in Lightning Strikes, this next track displays the urgency and obsessiveness of Victor Frankenstein at work. Chis Mueller's piano drives the piece while Tobin Mueller's organ punctuates the action with organ jabs and melodic fragments. Dane Richeson's drumming adeptly switches from moody tom toms to light jazz rides. Bassist Jeff Cox has well deserved solo moment toward the end, following Tobin's organ set of 4s. An excellently balanced arrangement full of tenacity and story-telling.

The melody is based on a song from Creature of the same name in which The Creature and the Mountain Girl must return to the castle. The Creature is beginning to decompose and needs Dr. Frankenstein's help. The music also conveys motion: passing through many trials and tribulations on the way. The jazz musicians do a wonderful job capturing this haste, these trials, and the hope that is sure to be dashed...

6.
Shape of My Life
Quartet: Woody Mankowski, vocals; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Tobin Mueller, organs/synths; Dane Richeson, drums/percussion

"What is the shape of my life?" Victor Frankenstein's self-questioning reachest new heights with this song so perfectly performed by Woody Mankowski. Whereas A Promise is sung at the beginning of the story, Shape of My Life is song just before the ending, as he resolves to try and fix the mess he has made.

It should be noted that the Victor Frankenstein of Mueller's Creature is not just a mad scientist, but an artistic sculptor as well. "A sculptor of flesh" as well as clay. This is helepful to know when it comes to some of the lyrics. For complete lyrics plus a previous arrangement of the piece, see: A Promise - lyrics.

7.
I Wanna Fly
Full Ensemble, featuring: Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Bob Levy, trumpet; Woody Mankowski, soprano sax

Bouyed by hope, this song depicts the moment The Creature breaks out of the castle's dungeon lab and escapes into the wilderness. He feels like he could fly.

The Ensemble, driven by Mueller's piano, skips among the echoing hills, celebrating liberation and joy. This arrangement is an excellent example of contemporary Big Band.

8.
Frankenfanny
Trio, featuring: Ron Carter, basses; Woody Mankowski, saxes; Tobin Mueller, organs/drums

The Creature plays with the animals he has liberated from the laboratory, introducing them to the natural animals of the hills and forests.

First released on the album Come In Funky featuring Ron Carter, this track has been remastered. Bass legend Ron Carter introduces the groove with mischievious exuberance, then switches to electric bass as the track gets funkier and funkier. Mueller's organ slides around with unpredicable energy, teasing us throughout. Makowski's layered saxes are tastey and masterful, as always. The drums are all programmed by Tobin Mueller as well even though sound as real as can be. Perhaps a nod to the synthetic life Dr. Frankenstein was so focused on?

9.
Dreams (When You Awake to Me)
Quartet: Woody Mankowski, vocals; Mueller, acoustic piano; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Dane Richeson, drums

This is Tobin Mueller's most recorded tune, appearing on a dozen different albums by various people sung in many styles. (Note: there is a reprise version sung by Emily Rohm included later on this album.)

Woody Mankowski's gentle rendition reminds us this is simply a lovely lullaby. Sung both by Victor Frankenstein over his still-sleeping Creature and the Mountain Girl as the Creature naps between adventures later in the story. The deceptively simple melody cycles through the circle of fifths in a dreamy, ethereal fashion. Mueller's piano solo is a highlight, so gentle, assuring, pleasing and pure.

10.
Caught in the Current
Quintet: Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Bill Barner, clarinet; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Martyn Kember-Smith, fiddle; Dane Richeson, percussion

Based on The River Never Stops (see Volume 2, track 18), this arrangement combines Celtic, folk, New Age, modal jazz and Afro-Cuban influences. Dane Richeson layers 5 passes of different percussion. During the recording session, he laid out a dizzying array of instruments around him and simply kept picking up one after another as the tape continued to roll. The Mueller's play off each other as only conncected relatives can, with verve and inutitive feeling. Kember-Smith's fiddle and Bill Barner's clarinet pass melodic bits back and forth like dance partners, as this 6/8 gigue catches each current. What starts with an almost circus feel ends with invigorating and simple peace (unlike the piece it is based on, which ends in terrible tragedy).

11.
Waltzing Night Into Day
Quintet: Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Doug Schneider, tenor sax; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Dane Richeson, drums

. . .
Radio Edit version (from the Radio Edits CD)

Tobin first wrote this melody way back in 1979 for the play Agnes of God. It was a little diddy sung by you young innocent novice. He then rearranged the song with his own lyrics for the Mountain Girl to sing in Creature. This instrumental version features Doug Schneider on tenor sax. Scheider captures all the chaste purity, the longing and naivety of the earlier versions, with a depth neither of the others achieved.

NOTE: The Radio Edit version cuts out Tobin's orgain introduction.

12.
What Survives [9:25]
Quartet: Woody Mankowski, soprano saxes/vocals; Dane Richeson, drums; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ/synths; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass

. . .
Radio Edit version (from the Radio Edits CD)

"What Survives" is the finalé for the Broadway version of Creature. A new arrangement of that song has been combined with Victor Frankenstein's anthem "Over the World" to create this finalé to Volume One. Woody Mankowski doubles as singer and soprano saxophone soloist, layering overdubs as well. A melodramatic tour de force driven by Chris Mueller's relentless piano and Tobin Mueller's inventively layered keys, this track can only be labeled "breathtaking". The Radio Edit cuts out much of the interconnecting improvisational section, by the way. But radios rarely play a track 9-plus minutes long.

NOTE: Two alternative version of this tune appear on Mueller's 2019 release WONDER under the titles "I Won’t Leave You (medley)" and "I Won’t Leave you (instrumental)".

"There is enough joy and power in this duet sure to satisfy both the blues and jazz lover. This is the essence of what makes the Blues so universal."
- Grind Louder

Jump to:  Volume 1  •  Radio Edits  •  The Ensemble

Volume Two
VOLUME 2

13. One Body of Man - A Duet
14. Do I Know Him?
15. Finding No Path
16. Resurrection Witch
17. River Runs Through Me
18. The River Never Stops (composer’s demo)
19. Windowshade
20. Frankenspell Superstar (abridged)
21. Bring the Fire / Over the World (alt. version)
22. I Am (One Voice)
23. Gonna School Ya
24. This Is It (composer’s demo)
25. Dreams (reprise)
26. Dénouement

13.
One Body of Man - A Duet
Duet: Mueller & Schneider, pianos

. . .
Radio Edit version (from the Radio Edits CD)

Serving as an Overture to Volume Two, Saxophonost Doug Schneider joins Mueller at the piano to create this engaging duet. Based on a song of the same title that opens Act Two, the stage version features the spirits of The Creatures body parts, celebrating their resurrection in a single Body of Man.

Mueller and Schneider adroitly move from R&B to jazz to Tin Pan Alley and back to R&B as they emply theme and variations full of intelligence and potency.

14.
Do I Know Him?
Duet: Emily Rohm, vocals; Tobin Mueller, keys/synths

Breaking out of the Jazz Ensemble framework, this track is directly from the stage show Creature. Emily Rohm played the part of the Mountain Girl on Broadway. Mueller plays all the recorded accompaniment, synths, percussion, etc. The song marks the first time the Mountain Girl secrtely sees Victor Frankenstein in the graveyard, thinking he might be a kindred spirit.

15.
Finding No Path
Quartet: Dane Richeson, drums/percussion; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ/synths; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano

. . .
Radio Edit version (from the Radio Edits CD)

This melody is based on the 11th Hour reveal soliloquy sung by The Heart Spirit (who ends up being the woman Victor's unkind brother Frederick had an affair with in the past). It is full of melodrama and tragedy. She died in agony only to be reborn inside The Creature... who now has access to the very man that wronged her. WHat will be her path now?

The amount of power generated by this quartet is astounding. The highlight may be Dane Richeson's dramatic drum solo 2/3s in., forming the climax of the arrangement. But everything, from the opening bass solo to the fabouls groove, to the interplay between Uncle and Nephew on keys, as all simply superb.

This medlody is used toward the end of the song The River Never Stops (see below, track 18) if you want to check out how this version compares to the original composer's demo.

16.
River Runs Through Me
Trio: Woody Mankowski, soprano sax; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ

. . .
Radio Edits CD)

This is perhaps Chris Mueller's finest moment on the album. His piano solo in the middle of this expansively peaceful, prayerful tune is sublime. Tobin's organ never gets in the way, aids color around the edges to complete this anthem-like ballad. Grace and rejuvenation combine to make this track truly shine.

17.
Resurrection Witch
Duet: Jessica Flood, vocals; Tobin Mueller, all other instruments

The original one-act Frankenspell Superstar was a family show. The subsequent two-act Creature had more adult themes, including sexual ones. The major difference was embodied in the character of Elisabeth, Victor Frankenstein's fiancé. She weas chaste and Victorian in the initial script. For Broadway, she became a modern character full of her own amnition to be both more beautiful and immortal. She saw Victor as a mix between plastic surgeon and demon-channeler. In many ways, her ambition turned Victor from his pure vision of defeating death and into one that "perfected" humanity. This song is the moment Elisabeth seduces Victor to embrace her desires.

The accompaniment is performed entirely by Tobin Mueller. Jessica Flood brings the character of Elisabeth to life.


18.
The River Never Stops (composer’s demo)
Duet: Jessica Flood, vocals; Tobin Mueller, backing vocals/instrumentation

This tracks was performed in Mueller's home studio as a composer's demo. He sings the part of the Spirit Chorus; Jessica Flood performs the part of The Heart Spirit. the song tells the story of what happens to The Heart Spirit, the betrayal by Frederick Frankenstein that led to her suicide. The track has never been released before.

The story is based on an old African folk tale. A woman falls in love with a married man, has his child, conspires to help kill the man's wife, follows the man across a river so deep and wild she must let her child go and be carried by the waters in order to continue across... and then once she and her lover make it safely yo the other side, the man rejects her, saying he cannot trust anyone who would let her own child drown. (The part of The Heart Spirit is played by an African-American actress.)

19.
Windowshade
Duet: Tobin Mueller, all keyboards/percussion; Woody Mankowski, all saxes

. . .
Radio Edit version (from the Radio Edits CD)

Mueller shows his prowess as a mutli-talented keyboardist poverlaying B3, vintage synths, electric piano and drum box programming to lift this old school funk groove into the modern age with hip verve. By the time Woody Mankowsi enteres with this layered saxes, the listener is already totally emersed in funk fantasies. Some of Mankowski's soprano sax lines are filtered through settings to sound like an EWI, but their all just soprano sax. Gives the track an organic yet synthetic feel, which works well for the Franklenstein theme.

Windowshade was first released on The Rain Bather and then again on The The Muller's Wheel, remastered each time. Now, with this new Radio Edits CD, it has appeared on 3 of Mueller's albums. It's worth hearing again and again.

20.
Frankenspell Superstar (abridged)
The CenterStage Players, featuring vocalists Jessica Flood, Emily Rohm, Chris Vanderlynden; Tobin Mueller, all instruments

Mueller's groundbreaking one-act rock opera "Frankenspell Superstar" debuted in 1992 to fabulous reviews. He would later expand the show into two acts for a family-friendly Off Broadway run in 1995 at The Thirteenth Street Theatre. Then, in 1996, he rewrote the script with a far more adult bend, adding edgier storylines and character arcs, renaming it "Creature". This track is from the original CenterStage Players one-act, the scene that introduces Dr. Victor Frankenstein as he creates then celebrates his Creature. Features Jessica Flood, Kathryn Purdy, Lisa Jarret, Lindsey Teetaert, Holly Thomas and Emily Rohm as the Gypsies; Chris Vanderlinden as Victor Frankenstein.

It provides an interesting context for the arrangements above.

21.
Bring the Fire / Over the World (Broadway version)
The CenterStage Players, featuring vocalists Jessica Flood, Tim Cunningham; Tobin Mueller, all instruments

To contrast how different Creature is from its anticedent Frankenspell Superstar, here is the version of the moment The Creature is created in Creature. Beginning with underscoring, you can hear the spirits awakening to the idea of being summoned again into living flesh. Then you hear how differently Elisabeth and Victor react to the awakening Creature. Victor Frankenstein is played by Tim Cunningham); his fiancé Elisabeth by Jessica Flood.

22.
I Am (One Voice) [composer's demo]
Tobin Mueller: vocals, all instruments

This is the composer's demo of The Creature's touching soliloquy after he has finally escaped yet finds himself alone and afraid. Recall that each body part had a spirit attached to it, and they have at times been deafening. The song presents the moment The Creature discovers his own voice from within this cacophony of the spirits.

The discerning listener will hear themes used in several of the jazz arrangements above. Mueller plays all instruments as well.

23.
I'm Gonna School Ya
The CenterStage Players, featuring: Emily Rohm, lead vocalist; Matt Knudsen as The Creature; Tobin Mueller, all instruments

After guiding The Creature to safety in the wilds, the Mountain Girl begins to teach him about life. Featuring Emily Rohm as the Mountain Girl and Matt Knudsen as the Creature. The CenterStage players round out the chorus of gypsies and lab animals who have followed the Creature. Lyrics.

24.
This Is It (composer’s demo)
Tobin Mueller: vocals, all instruments

This song was dropped from the Broadway version, being too "juvenile" for the producers' taste. It has never been released before. But the composer thouight it would be interesting to post it as an example of how a demo can hint at future music. There is a playful jazz quallity to the music that ended up reflected in several of the arrangements of What Survives.

25.
Dreams (reprise)
Duet: Emily Rohm, vocals; Tobin Mueller, all instruments

This dreamy, haunting rendition highlights the introspective aspects of one of the sweetest lullabies ever written. Mueller uses a mixture of reversed and bowed piano, plus Celtic and orchestral harp, framed by synth and piano continuum in the extended introduction, in order to present the tune's hopeful yet chimerical context. The main body of the piece is modal and shifting, searching and reflective.

Tobin in violet light

26.
Dénouement
Tobin Mueller, piano

This piano solo was written and perfromed by Mueller in 2020 during the Great Lockdown of 2020 caused by the coronavirus. The melody is a variation combining "What Survives" and "Dreams". The title reflects the sense of afterthought embodied in the piece, written 25 years after Creature, marking the release of What Survives.

I love the intellectual glider plane ride through what I envision is Mueller's thoughts as he plays. I can hear his soul, I swear!"

Gerry Walsh

Jump to:  Volume 1  •  Volume 2  •  The Ensemble

Radio Edits (CD)
01. Cliff’s Edge (radio edit)
02. Secret of Life
03. A Promise (radio edit)
04. Lightning Strikes
05. Must Go Back (radio edit)
06. What Is the Shape of My Life
07. I Wanna Fly
08. Frankenfanny
09. Dreams (When You Awake to Me)
10. Caught in the Current
11. Waltzing Night Into Day (radio edit)
12. One Body of Man - A Duet (radio edit)
13. Finding No Path (radio edit)
14. River Runs Through Me (radio edit)
15. Windowshade (radio edit)
16. What Survives (radio edit)
17. Dreams (reprise)
18. Dénouement
What Survives - Radio Edits
Tobin's Jazz Collection
JAZZ ENSEMBLE
Standard Deviations cover
Standard Deviations - Jazz/Blues - Keyboardist Tobin Mueller is joined by Grammy-winner Paul Nelson (guitars), Woody Mankowski (saxophones), Lamar Moore & Mike Nappi (percussionists) to breathe new life into 33 standards in this fresh Two Volume CD. An homage to Monk, Ellington, Gershwin, Brubeck, Bernstein, Berlin, Kern, Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Lennon-McCartney, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, Billy Strayhorn and more. "The greatest collection of reimagined standards in the last decade."
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 Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Ligeti, Bartok. "A truly unique album with music to really sink your teeth into."
Afterwords: Bonus Tracks cover
Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks - For those of you who prefer music without any interruptions, seven of the best tracks from Afterwords have been remastered with the talking edited out. Originally conceived for distribution to jazz radio stations, this Bonus Album is now avaiilable to the egeneral public. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor; post-bop, stride, new age, classic jazz.
Tobin's Other CD Collections
Tobin's Solo Piano Collection
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.
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.
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Impressions of Water & Light is an exploration of the cross-inspirations between Impressionist and jazz piano, including adaptations of music by Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Satie, Ibert and Carpenter. Tobin uses the written notes as if they are light and his imagination as if it is water, creating all new interpretations. This post-Impressionist music illustrates the intimacy between jazz and Impressionist music. You will never hear these works the same again. The gorgeous CD booklet is a work of art in itself, pairing an Impressionist painting with each piece. One of the three album in Mueller's "Masterworks Trilogy".
Impressions of Water and Light cover
Midwinter Born is a collection of jazz piano interpretations of traditional Christmas carols. Mueller captures the quiet simplicity, expectant playfulness and over-riding joy of the season. A delightful and sometimes surprising album destined to become one of your annual holiday favorites. The 18 track album includes: First Noel, Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Carol of the Bells, Lo How A Rose E'er Bloom, Good King Wenceslas, Still, Still, Still and many more.
Morning Whispers cover
Morning Whispers is Tobin's first solo piano collection, a song cycle of tragic beauty. Music of healing and introspection. The use of key changes, unusual time signatures, and other variational devices makes this work involving, not merely New Age background music. Its gentle intensity, however, does not detract from its healing essence, its sense of inner joy. Influences include Aaron Copland, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, David Lanz, Liz Story. Several of these piano pieces have since been used in film and documentaries.
13 Masks cover
13 Masks is Tobin's second solo piano collection. An exploration of the links between avant-garde 20th Century music and jazz. Tobin used illustrations of 13 medieval masks to inspire songs combining ragtime, jazz and 20th Century avant-garde classical. Influences include Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Art Tatum, Scott Joplin, John Medeski, as well as classical composers Shostakovich, Ligeti, Bartok. These pieces will startle and delight. "A truly unique album with music to really sink your teeth into."
Afterwords cover
Afterwords - Combining spoken word and solo piano, Tobin "illustrates" his favorite works of literature with a wide variety of new musical compositions. He pays homage to classic authors like Hemmingway, Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Faulkner, as well as new authors Dave Eggers, Chuck Palahniuk, Aimee Bender and China Miéville. Musical influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor, even Keith Emerson. "An astonishing work of art." Jazziz's 2017 Critics' Choice.
Afterwords: Bonus Tracks cover
Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks - For those of you who prefer music without any interruptions, seven of the best tracks from Afterwords have been remastered with the talking edited out. Originally conceived for distribution to jazz radio stations, this Bonus Album is now avaiilable to the egeneral public. Influences include Oscar Peterson, Hiromi, Brad Maldheu, Fred Hersch, John Taylor; post-bop, stride, new age, classic jazz.
Standard Deviations cover
Standard Deviations - Jazz/Blues - Although this is mainly an ensemble album, half the tracks on Disc 2 of this two volume recording are solo piano arrangements. Think of this is a piano album with fabulous guest artists sitting in on 2/3s of the tunes! See Standard Deviations project page for complete Liner Notes and several Bonus Tracks. "The greatest collection of reimagined standards in the last decade."
Tobin's Rock Collection
Progressive Rock
WONDER cover
WONDER - progressive rock/pop fusion. This tour de force double album combines the power and virtuosity of prog with the intimate simplicity of lullabies. Track list alternates between vocals songs and instrumentals, giving time to contemplate Mueller's poetic lyrics. Styles transcends prog and pop, with influences of jazz, classical, electronica and world music layered throughout. Features appearances by Michael Hedges, Scott Rockenfield, Bob Piper (Pleiades), Anton Mueller (Audiocracy), Steve Stone, Aaron Paul, Lennon Loveday (Shadow of Nine), more...
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.
Fusion
Standard Deviations cover
Standard Deviations - Jazz/Blues - Keyboardist Tobin Mueller is joined by Grammy-winner Paul Nelson (guitars), Woody Mankowski (saxophones), Lamar Moore & Mike Nappi (percussionists) to breathe new life into 33 standards in this fresh Two Volume CD. An homage to Monk, Ellington, Gershwin, Brubeck, Bernstein, Berlin, Kern, Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael, Lennon-McCartney, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, Billy Strayhorn and more. "The greatest collection of reimagined standards in the last decade."
Rock Musicals
Best Of CenterStage cover
TOBIN MUELLER: Best of the CenterStage Years - soundtrack/musicals. Compilation of 42 songs from Mueller's 9 musicals produced under the CenterStage banner. Volume One highlights his delightful children's pop rock educational music; Volume Two presents his rock opera and dramatic Broadway offerings. From humorous wordplay to romantic soliloquys ro rock anthems, this music informs, inspires, entertains and satisfies.
Tobin's Standards Collection
Standard Deviations cover
Standard Deviations - Jazz/Blues - The only instrumental album in Tobin's "Standards" collection. An homage to Monk, Ellington, Gershwin, Brubeck, Hoagy Carmichael, Lennon-McCartney, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Henri Mancini, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer and more, featuring great players and innovative arrangements. "The greatest collection of reimagined standards in the last decade."
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.
Children's Educational Music: CenterStage-Musicals
To Save the Planet, an environmental musical.
Danger Dinosaurs, about the exctinction of the dinosaurs and the importance of friends.
Music of the Planets, about the solar system.
Mickey Spleen Saves the Day, swing-jazz anatomy musical.
I Want to Know, about the history of science & invention.
The Sound of Money, about economics.
Say "Yes" to Life, anti-drug/pro-self musical.
Frankenspell Superstar, Tale of a Man-Made Messiah, based on Frankenstein.
Robin Hood and the Free People of the Forest, musical drama about freedom and revolution.
Tobin Mueller: The Best of the CenterStage Years, a 2-volume 44-track compilation.
Best Of CenterStage cover
TOBIN MUELLER: Best of the CenterStage Years - soundtrack/musicals. Compilation of 42 songs from Mueller's 9 musicals produced under the CenterStage banner. Volume One highlights his delightful children's educational music; Volume Two presents his Broadway offerings. From humorous wordplay to clever histories, romantic soliloquys to powerful rock opera duets, this music informs, inspires, entertains and satisfies.

*Available directly from Tobin Mueller. Contact him for more information.