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What Survives
What Survives - Volume 1 and Volume 2 - Radio Edits
What Survives Cover
WHAT SURVIVES Vol 1 & 2 available on HearNow, Google Play, Amazon, YouTube, Spotify.
WHAT SURVIVES - Radio Edits: HearNow, YouTube.

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

Tobin Mueller 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 but ended up a Jazz Masterpiece."

- George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

What Survives is a collection of original jazz recordings inspired by Tobin Mueller's Broadway musical, Creature. For the first time, all of the vocal jazz tracks have been included with the full ensemble recordings. Even some composer demos are included (on Volume 2).

The digital release of What Survives includes 26 tracks spread over 2 volumes. The CD release, What Survives - Radio Edits, condenses the project down to 15 tracks, edited for radio play. (The digital version of What Survives - Radio Edits includes 18 tracks.) [Radio Edits]

Liner notes (below) describe the stories behind the music, as well as the players on each track. Free MP3s are also available to both stream and download. Please check them out. [Radio Edits]

One of the freshest and most sheerly entertaining, intriguing and exciting recordings I've come across. The product of Tobin Mueller's kaleidoscopic mind. What Survives compositions range from progressive big band to funk, fusion to world 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

What Survives moves from its opening nine member ensemble to various breakout groupings, mixing and matching players differently for each piece. The variation in pairings keeps the album dynamic and fresh. The vibe progresses from hip exuberance to rhapsodic melodrama, from intricate passion to graceful elegance. The layering of Mueller’s keys gives each track an organic feel.

The featured artist on 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. As a featured vocalist and saxophonist, this album displays some of Mankowski's 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.)

Earlier versions of a few of these tracks were previously released under the title Rain Bather, winner of "Best Jazz Album of 2009" accolades. For What Survives, however, every track has been remastered, many have been edited, and most include additional layers of new keyboard/synth work, resulting in a warm and lively sound.

If anyone has any doubts about Tobin Mueller’s extraordinary versatility as both composer and performer, this album should take care of it. From smooth, sweet ballads to funky bravado to straight-ahead jazz; from solos to full-cast performances to duets and beyond; there is something for everyone. Vibrant, full of life, heartbreakingly sad... What Survives will rock your world!"
- Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano

Creature is a Broadway show written by Mueller 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 for an extended 18 month run. Originally a progressive rock opera, later versions incorporated jazz, fusion and R&B elements. The musical updates the Frankenstein story. Sympathetic to The Creature, it presents a 21 year old Victor Frankenstein (his age in Shelley's novel) trying to heroically overcome death, then getting sidetracked due to his (and his fiancé Elisabeth'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 is merely a prototype. Victor never meant him to last (an example of Victor's lack of empathy and forethought, and a nod to our modern throw-away culture). 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. However, the surviving cast does seem to have learned a lesson of love and mortal compassion, in the end. 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. [Radio Edits]

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 many notable moments, including: Woody Mankowski’s driving soprano saxophone solo in Cliff’s Edge, Dane Richeson vibrant drums in Finding No Path, Ron Carter's cameo introducing Frankenfanny, Doug Scheider’s sublime tenor sax solo on the ballad Waltzing Night into Day, Mueller’s funky organ/synth interplays in Windowshade, and every one of the four vocal tracks, especially A Promise. 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

Jump to:  Volume 1  •  Volume 2  •  Radio Edits

The Ensemble

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

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

...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 [7:35]
02. Secret of Life [4:34]
03. A Promise [6:34]
04. Lightning Strikes [2:05]
05. Must Go Back [6:02]
06. The Shape of My Life [5:52]
07. I Wanna Fly [2:24]
08. Frankenfanny [3:32]
09. Dreams (When You Awake to Me) [4:51]
10. Caught in the Current [4:44]
11. Waltzing Night Into Day [7:46]
12. What Survives [9:24]

VOLUME 2

13. One Body of Man - A Duet [6:41]
14. Finding No Path [8:37]
15. River Runs Through Me [6:59]
16. Do I Know Him? [1:39]
17. Windowshade [8:28]
18. Let Me Pose for You [3:40]
19. The River Never Stops (composer’s demo) [7:32]
20. Dreams (reprise) featuring Emily Rohm [2:30]
21. Frankenspell Superstar [6:14]
22. Gonna School Ya [3:40]
23. Bring the Fire / Over the World (Broadway version) [8:05]
24. I Am (One Voice) [5:30]
25. This Is It (composer’s demo) [5:07]
26. Dénouement [4:04]

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

All songs by Tobin Mueller.
©1992, 1995, 2008-2009, 2020 Tobin Mueller.
Album art by Alan Perry.

Jump to:  Volume 2  •  Radio Edits  •  The Ensemble

Volume One
1.
Cliff's Edge
[7:35]
Full Ensemble, featuring: Doug Schneider, tenor sax; Woody Mankowski, soprano saxophone; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ

. . .
Radio Edit version
[6:47]

Many characters in the Frankenstein story walk a metaphorical cliff’s edge. In fact, Mary Shelley's novel ends with Victor chasing his Creature along the cliffs of Antarctica. However, this track refers to cliffs made of ambition, hubris and the blind pursuit of reckless creation. 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 their grave yard, digging up body parts and taking them into his lab. There is something about this one, however, that convinces the spirits to play along, mostly in the hopes of somehow rejoining the living and gaining 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 gypsies. Creature presents a darker, expanded adaptation of the Frankenstein story.


"Contemporary Big Band at its hippest. Soloists are superb. A thrilling ride."
- Industry Top 100

2.
Secret of Life
[4:34]
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 articulates the theory that unlocks the secret of life. This arrangement takes us on more of a jazz-oriented journey of shifting keys and new beginnings. Throughout the album, What Survives rotates between full ensemble pieces and breakout quartets/quintets. This is the first of the small breakouts. To hear the original melody, please see "Frankenspell Superstar" track 21, below, as sung by the Gypsy Chorus.



"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

3.
A Promise
[6:34]
Featuring: Woody Mankowski, vocals; Doug Schneider, tenor sax; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Dane Richeson, drums

. . .
Radio Edit version
[5:57]

This soliloquy is sung by young Dr. Victor Frankenstein at his mother's grave. His mother had died in childbirth, after having him. Victor resolves to create a "world of change and promise", to conquer death, to help make sense of her death, to alleviate his own guilt. The promises discussed are many: promises to those who came before us, promises we make to ourselves, the promise our very birth creates, 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.

For complete lyrics (embedded in mp3), see: A Promise - lyrics.


4.
Lightning Strikes
(Radio Edit) [2:05]
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. Lightening is, of course, a repeating device throughout the story. Placing it after the moving ballad, A Promise, snaps the listener out of any sense of calm or repose that may have been temporarily embraced.

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


5.
Must Go Back
[6:47]
Quartet: Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Dane Richeson, drums

. . .
Radio Edit version
[5:36]

Chris 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 toms to light jazz rides. Bassist Jeff Cox has a well deserved solo moment toward the end, following Tobin's organ set of 4s. A balanced arrangement full of tenacity and story-telling.

The melody is based on a scene from Creature in which The Creature and the Mountain Girl decide to return to the castle. The Creature is beginning to decompose and seeks Dr. Frankenstein's help. The music conveys motion as well as emotion as they pass through perils along the way. The jazz musicians do a wonderful job capturing this haste, these trials, and the hope that will soon to be dashed...


6.
The Shape Of My Life
[5:52]
Featuring: Woody Mankowski, vocals; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Tobin Mueller, electric piano/organ; Dane Richeson, drums/percussion

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

It should be noted that the Victor Frankenstein of Mueller's Creature is not just a mad scientist, but a sculptor as well. "A sculptor of flesh" as well as clay. This is helpful to know when it comes to some of the lyrics. For complete lyrics (embedded in mp3) plus a previous arrangement of the piece, see: The Shape of My Life - lyrics.


7.
I Wanna Fly
[2:24]
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
[3:32]
Trio, featuring: Ron Carter, basses; Woody Mankowski, saxes; Tobin Mueller, organs/drums

. . .
Radio Edit version
[3:20]

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 (and, in the Radio Edit version, slightly shortened). Bass legend Ron Carter introduces the groove with mischievious exuberance, then switches to electric bass as the track gets funkier. Mueller's organ slides around with unpredicable energy, teasing us throughout. Makowski's layered saxes are tastey and masterful. The drums are all programmed by Tobin Mueller, a nod to the synthetic life Dr. Frankenstein was so enamored with.


9.
Dreams
[4:51]
Featuring: Woody Mankowski, vocals; Tobin Mueller, electric pianos, organ, synths; Chris 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 then reprised by the Mountain Girl as the Creature naps between adventures later in the story. Mueller's piano solo is a highlight, so gentle, reassuring, pleasing and pure.

For lyrics (embedded in mp3), see: Dreams (When You Awake) - lyrics

10.
Caught in the Current
[4:44]
Quintet: Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Bill Barner, clarinet; Martyn Kember-Smith, fiddle; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Dane Richeson, percussion

Based on The River Never Stops (see Volume 2, track 19), this arrangement combines Celtic, Folk, New Age, Modal Jazz and Afro-Cuban influences. Dane Richeson layers 5 passes of percussion instruments collected from several continents. During the recording session, he laid out a dizzying array of instruments around him and picked 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, allowing themselves to be swept up in the current of this 6/8 gigue.

11.
Waltzing Night Into Day
[7:46]
Quintet: Tobin Mueller, B3 organ; Doug Schneider, tenor sax; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Dane Richeson, drums

. . .
Radio Edit version
[6:21]

Tobin wrote this melody way back in 1987 for the play The Runner Stumbles. It was a short tune sung by an 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 edit outs Tobin's organ introduction.

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

. . .
Radio Edit version
[6:39]

"What Survives" is the finalé to the Broadway version of Creature. This is a new arrangement of that song, written especially for Woody Mankowski (lyrics are embedded in the mp3). It combines in medley form Victor Frankenstein's anthem "Over the World" and the full-cast song "What Survives". Woody Mankowski doubles as singer and soprano saxophonist. With Jeff Cox's relentless acoustic bass, Tobin Mueller's keys (two electric pianos and B3 organ), Chris Mueller's acoustic piano (especially his solo in the Long Play version), and Mankowski's driving soprano sax floating over it all... this track can only be labeled "breathtaking". (The Radio Edit cuts out much of the interconnecting improvisational section. But radios rarely play a 9-plus minute track.)

NOTE: Two alternative versions 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)".

Jump to:  Volume 1  •  Radio Edits  •  The Ensemble

Volume Two
VOLUME 2

13. One Body of Man - A Duet [6:41]
14. Finding No Path [8:37]
15. River Runs Through Me [6:59]
16. Do I Know Him? [1:39]
17. Windowshade [8:28]
18. Let Me Pose for You [3:40]
19. The River Never Stops (composer’s demo) [7:32]
20. Dreams (reprise) featuring Emily Rohm [2:30]
21. Frankenspell Superstar [6:14]
22. Gonna School Ya [3:40]
23. Bring the Fire / Over the World (Broadway version) [8:05]
24. I Am (One Voice) [5:30]
25. This Is It (composer’s demo) [5:07]
26. Dénouement [4:04]

13.
One Body of Man - A Duet
[6:41]
Duet: Mueller & Schneider, pianos

. . .
Radio Edit version
[5:39]

Serving as an Overture to Volume Two, Doug Schneider joins Mueller at the piano to create this engaging improvised duet. Based on a R&B song of the same title that opens Act Two of Creature, the stage version features the spirits of 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, variations alive with exuberance and sass.

"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


14.
Finding No Path
[8:37]
Quartet: Dane Richeson, drums/percussion; Jeff Cox, acoustic bass; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ/synths; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano

. . .
Radio Edit version
[6:21]

This is perhaps the most dramatic arrangement on the album. The amount of power generated by this quartet is astounding. The highlight is Dane Richeson's spirituous drum solo 2/3s in, forming the climax of the arrangement. But everything, from the opening bass solo (not included in the Radio Edit) to the hip groove, to the interplay between Uncle and Nephew on keys, all are simply superb.

NOTE: The Radio Edit edits out Jeff Cox's intro bass solo. For those of you who don't want to miss it, please check out the Long Play version. It also edits out much of Chris Mueller's piano solo in the middle section.

15.
River Runs Through Me
[6:59]
Trio: Woody Mankowski, soprano sax; Chris Mueller, acoustic piano; Tobin Mueller, B3 organ

. . .
Radio Edit version
[4:33]

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, adds color around the edges and emotional emphasis. Mankowski's soprano sax expressiveness completes this anthem-like ballad.

16.
Do I Know Him?
[1:39]
Duet: Emily Rohm, vocals; Tobin Mueller, keys/synths

Departing from 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 instruments for the recorded accompaniment: synths, percussion, etc. The song marks the first time the Mountain Girl sees Victor Frankenstein in the graveyard, thinking he might be a kindred spirit. Lyrics are embedded in the mp3.

17.
Windowshade
[8:28]
Duet: Tobin Mueller, all keyboards/percussion; Woody Mankowski, all saxes

. . .
Radio Edit version
[6:19]

Mueller shows his prowess as a mutli-talented keyboardist overlaying B3, vintage synths, electric piano and drum box programming to lift this old-school funk groove into the modern age with wizardly verve. By the time Woody Mankowski enters with this layered saxes, the listener is already totally emersed in funk fantasies. Some of Mankowski's soprano sax lines are filtered to sound like an EWI, giving the track an organic yet synthetic feel, which works well for the Frankenstein 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 Edit CD, it has appeared on 3 of Mueller's albums. It's worth hearing again and again.

18.
Let Me Pose for You
[3:40]
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 was a classic Victorian character in the initial script, chaste and refined. 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 savior. This song is the moment Elisabeth seduces Victor to embrace her desires to be included in his experiments.

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

19.
The River Never Stops (composer’s demo)
[7:32]
Duet: Jessica Flood, vocals; Tobin Mueller, backing vocals/instrumentation

This track was recorded 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 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 to the other side, the man rejects her, saying he cannot trust anyone who would let her own child drown.

20.
Dreams (reprise) featuring Emily Rohm
[2:30]
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 keyboards, plus Celtic and orchestral harp, to present the tune's hopeful yet chimerical context. The main body of the piece is modal and shifting, searching and reflective. This is the Broadway version, yet forms a reprise in the context of this album.

For lyrics (embedded in mp3), see: Dreams (When You Awake) - lyrics

21.
Frankenspell Superstar
[6:14]
The CenterStage Players, featuring vocalists Jessica Flood, Emily Rohm, Chris Vanderlynden; Tobin Mueller plays all instruments

Mueller's groundbreaking one-act prog rock opera "Frankenspell Superstar" debuted in 1992. 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 1995-96, he rewrote the script with more adult content, adding edgier storylines, character arcs, R&B and Jazz, renaming it "Creature". This track is from the original CenterStage Players one-act, the scene that introduces Dr. Victor Frankenstein as he creates and 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.

At the 3:30 mark, the arrangement turns old-school Jazz. It provides an interesting context for the Jazz Ensemble arrangements recorded at a later date. The lyrics are embedded in the mp3.

22.
Gonna School Ya
(Radio Edit) [3:40]
The CenterStage Players, featuring: Emily Rohm, lead vocalist; Matt Knudsen as The Creature; The CenterStage Players play the Chorus (Lab Animals and Gypsies); Tobin Mueller plays 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.

23.
Bring the Fire / Over the World (Broadway version)
[8:05]
The CenterStage Players, featuring vocalists Jessica Flood, Tim Cunningham; Tobin Mueller plays 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 is played by Jessica Flood. Lyrics are embedded in the mp3.


24.
I Am (One Voice) [composer's demo]
[5:30]
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 has a spirit attached to it. They have at times been deafening and usually work at cross-purposes, confusing and tormenting The Creature. The song presents the moment The Creature discovers his own voice from within this cacophony.

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


25.
This Is It (composer’s demo)
[7:32]
Tobin Mueller: vocals, all instruments

The original title was "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back", sung by the lab animals that were freed when The Creature escaped the castle. It debuted in 1995 with the full-length version of Frankenspell Superstar. It was dropped from the Broadway version of Creature, being too "juvenile" for the new producers. It has never been released, but the composer thought it would be interesting to release it as an example of how he would record a demo, singing and playing all parts, to intriduce his cast to the music. There is a playful jazz quality to the music, with an Island flair. It is also an excellent example of how Mueller takes a scene and, through shifts in musical styles, moves it through differing emotions and dramatic content.

Tobin in violet light

26.
Dénouement
[4:04]
Tobin Mueller, piano

Written and performed by Mueller in 2020, the melody reminds us of both "What Survives" and "Dreams", with a gentle melding of Impressionism and Modal New Age Jazz. The subtle arrangement highlights Mueller's orchastral mind, presenting a two-voice melody and countermelody, with additional passing lines woven in and out throughout. The title reflects the sense of addendum embodied in the piece, written 25 years after Creature, marking this release of What Survives.

I love the intellectual glider plane ride through 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)
What Survives - Radio Edits

01. Cliff’s Edge (radio edit) [6:47]
02. Secret of Life [4:34]*
03. A Promise (radio edit) [5:57]
04. Frankenfanny, feat. Ron Carter (radio edit) [3:22]
05. Lightning Strikes (radio edit) [2:03]
06. Must Go Back (radio edit) [5:36]
07. Dreams [5:06]*
08. I Wanna Fly [2:23]*
09. Windowshade (radio edit) [6:20]
10. Caught in the Current [4:44]*
11. Finding No Path (radio edit) [6:21]
12. What Survives (radio edit) [6:34]
13. Waltzing Night Into Day (radio edit) [6:23]
14. River Runs Through Me (radio edit) [5:46]
15. The Shape Of My Life [5:50]*

BONUS TRACKS: (not included on physical CD)
16. One Body of Man (radio edit) [5:37]
17. Dénouement [4:04]*
18. Dreams (reprise) [2:30]*

* Tracks not listed as "(radio edit)" are the full unedited versions used in the 2-Volume digital release "What Survives" (see above)
What Survives - Radio Edits CD
Tobin's Jazz Collection
JAZZ ENSEMBLE
What Survives - Radio Edits cover
What Survives - Radio Edits - Jazz - Remastered Radio Edits of the best tracks from What Survives - Volumes 1 & 2. Fresh and spontaneous yet expertly crafted arrangements. Contemporary Jazz at its finest. Ensemble includes: Woody Mankowski, Ron Carter, Bill Barner, Doug Schneider, Tom Washatka, Ken Schaphorst, Bob Levy, Dane Richeson, Martyn Kember-Smith and Tobin’s nephew Chris Mueller. CD contains 15 tracks; digital version includes 3 Bonus Tracks.
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.
WONDER cover
WONDER - progressive rock/pop Jazz Fusion. Although this tour de force double album is mainly about the power of progressive rock, Mueller's interpretive jazz keyboards add a modal flavor to each track. Styles transcends prog and pop, with influences of jazz, classical, electronica and world music layered throughout. Features rearrangements of songs from his Audiocracy years, rock operas and stage shows, plus new material certain to blow you away.
Mickey Spleen cover
Mickey Spleen Save the Day - Jazz Musical Theatre. This delightful recording is Mueller's educational children's musical about the human body, health and the immune system. It features his CenterStage youth Theatre Troupe performing his film noir who-done-it musical comedy. Characters include Mickey Spleen, Vinny Virus, The Lymphette Sisters and the GI Guys. Mueller wrote 8 children's musicals, but this is the only all-jazz score.
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.