CD Review: ‘Standard Deviations 1 & 2,’ Tobin Mueller

Standard Deviations, Volumes 1 and 2
By Tobin Mueller
Album available CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes

Interestingly, I had reviewed a previous two-CD set, “Afterwords,” exactly one year previously. On receiving this one, my expectations were pleasantly fulfilled. But, first some words about this unusual multi-talented man. In addition to being a pianist/composer/vocalist, he’s a playwright and sometime actor.

The current two-CD set features Tobin on piano, keyboard or organ. Some of the selections have an added instrumentalist such as saxophonist or guitarist. Then Mueller might add vibraphone, drums and/or bass. All selections on this album will be familiar to most jazz listeners. To name a few: God Bless the Child, St. Louis Blues, Take the “A” Train; Autumn Leaves, Stardust, My Funny Valentine and Georgia On My Mind.

All are performed tastefully and in Mueller’s unique style. Hence, his appropriate title of “Standard Deviations.”

So, this is a recommended album for those willing to listen to standard jazz tunes presented in a tasteful yet different style.

See www.tobinmueller.com to get more details on this album and other interesting projects of Mr. Mueller. One can purchase from the usual mail order sources as well as directly from this website.

CD Review: ‘Afterwords,’ Tobin Mueller

Afterwords
By Tobin Mueller
Album available CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes

This two-CD self-produced set is the first one, of more than twenty-five albums, which is accompanied by the spoken word. All are original compositions which the artist performs on solo piano. Some are upbeat and jazzy whereas others are more reflective and suggest more classically oriented compositions.

Tobin James Mueller is multi-talented as artist, playwright, composer and pianist. The adventurous listener will be rewarded of the effort. One can do an internet search and learn more about Mr. Mueller’s varied career. Here’s a link to Mueller’s tune: Monk Caught in a Thelonious Sphere:
http://www.tobinmueller.com/13masks/MonkCaughtInTheloniousSphere.mp3 or for more detail:
http://www.tobinmueller.com/13masks/

Mr. Mueller sent me this double-CD for review after he’d seen my review of Fred Hersch’s latest CD. He pointed out that, similar to Hersch’s bout with his medical issues, Mueller lives with a hereditary medical condition of which pulmonary aspects have been aggravated by inhalation of smoke and dust from the 9/11 attacks in NYC when he was living in the nearby neighborhood.

The collection includes seventeen original compositions accompanied by Mueller’s brief spoken-over-the-music quotations from various authors whose work inspired him. A separate single CD Afterwords: Solo Piano Bonus Tracks, consisting of seven selections without the spoken quotations is also available.

Listening to this mature work may persuade many of us to explore Mueller’s earlier works as well.
See www.tobinmueller.com for additional information.