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A Monk Caught in the Thelonious Sphere

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Here is the latest addition to my latest piano commission, "13 Masks, solo piano from the chaos of the subconscious." As you might guess from the title, this one is a tribute to Thelonious Monk and his influence, altho my original melody and take on the blues AABA form (with introduction). I realize you have never heard this sort of playing from me before, but it is something I enjoy. I tried to add as much from my subconscious as I could, trying to imagine myself turning in circles and wearing cool hats as I played...

PLEASE CONSIDER TURNING UP THIS TRACK. I didn't want to over-compress the piano.
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Other pre-mastered recordings from 13 Masks posted at Macjams:

Chromatisome Swing (tribute to Oscar Peterson)
Two Peas in a Chili Pod (dedicated to McBoy)
The Gumshoe Wears A Rag
Chaos of the Subconscious
You Make My Heart Skip A Beat

Song Stats
Hits: 8161
Comments: 53
Fans: 26
Plays: 496
Downloads: 211
Votes: 28
Uploaded: Dec 29, 2006 - 09:34:54 AM
Last Updated: Dec 26, 2007 - 09:35:42 AM Last Played: May 02, 2019 - 02:19:50 PM
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G5; Roland A90ex
Ivory plug in, Bosendorfer Imperial setting
FEEL said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
Tickle me Ivory's
this is great. Loved hearing this side of you, showing your laid back with a lot of complexity. Very entertaining. Was this on the fly? Thanks for posting.
Check out my latest song called A Second Life with Scott Carmicheal
TobinMueller said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
On the fly
...yes. The last two songs I've done for the project (I'll post the one I did last week next week, if that makes sense) were totally on the fly, including some moments of imperfection which I am trying hard to embrace but, I hope, lend to the authenticity of the genre. I watched a documentary on Monk earlier this month and it has lent me confidence to let go, practice a piece less (or record it earlier in the practicing process) and find certain ways out, as it were, like in live performance (but without the stress - I like minimal stress these days). Thanks for your comments.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
FEEL said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
I'm impressed
We just need the video now. Like thetiler.
Check out my latest song called A Second Life with Scott Carmicheal
Reinholt56 said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
An interesting diversion.....
This piece brings back memories for me of piano lessons, learning Monk for a few months, way back in the 70's.

I enjoyed your work here and look forward to more 'departures'. I think there is always an excuse, if one were required, to try/record something a little bit different.

Good luck in 2007 and with your album.

Check out my latest song called The Ups and Downs of Life
perceptualvortex said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
Really amazing playing. I haven't heard much Monk since college, but this does make me think of the strange angles he was always playing. I was even more reminded of Art Tatum. Excellent, very colorful work.
Check out my latest song called Mercury (RPM 6)
Scott Carmichael said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
I'm enjoying the disonence inside and all through... I love that coloring inside the chord... you are certainly masterful... there's nobody better here... and that piano plug in is killer... the dynamics are so close to the real thing... wow...

You almost sound dizzy as you are turning your circles

I have a piece on the back burner that's all about wooden instuments, and is requiring a piano solo... maybe that's our colab

peace... & happy new year
Check out my latest song called He Has Passed this Way
TobinMueller said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
I will always be open and honored to collaborate with you. I think our current collab, The Chimney, is starting to smoke. I hope it is just the first of many. Thank you for your kind comments.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
peacepiano said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
Nice Touch
This may be outside your usual genre but it highlights the full range of your playing very well. The rhythm, the melodies, the harmonies all sound great. Thanks for sharing.
Check out my latest song called Beat SoloMe-O
chikoppi said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
Hit'en 'em hard!
I dig the bass line in the opening and again about half way through when the decending chromatic steps appear. The range of dynamics is nice - at times contasting pounded keys against a very light touch. The wide stereo placement really provides a lot of separation between the voices. I like that the piano sounds quite bare - however, a little more resonance or ambient space might add to the intimacy.

The composition makes for a fun listen. There's enough traditional blues in it to make it immediately accessible, yet there are also some unexpected colors that make it unique and demand attention!
Check out my latest song called Autopilot
Ed Hannifin said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
Among the many genres where I know little to nothing...
...jazz would be right up there...

Soundwise, of course, this is impeccable. Folks who are using that Ivory plug-in are getting sounds that to my ears just sound like excellently recorded, high quality pianos...

It's interesting and nice hearing you take a different, perhaps looser, but perhaps at this point in your career just as challenging direction with your relationship to your playing. I admire that. I also admire the move towards minimal stress...

I LOVE the '13 Masks' graphic and am heartfeltly jealous/envious...

I don't think I have the vocabulary to say much about the music, except to say that I enjoy it and can hear the integrity in the new direction... Doesn't sound like a dabble to me... It has meat on its bones...

Check out my latest song called Chime (Alone) (Inspired by Particle Dots)
TobinMueller said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
13 Masks
Thanks, I love the 13 masks too. I was originally extra excited about them in that I thought they would provide inspiration to write some of the tunes for this song cycle, but as of yet I merely pick a face the kind of goes with music I've made up independent of the art. But the art as a whole, the surreal, whimsical, slightly dark, alternative-conscious style is a constant aide in motivating me to write the next piece. Thanks for commenting on it. It was almost 4 years in the making.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
T-ightly arranged and played.
O-oohhh so cool piano... deftly plunking along.
B-lues that is both simplicity of approach and intriquing in sound.
I-like this. : )
N-ow keep that low stress approach and gives us some more.... :)

Happy New Year musicman from New York.
TobinMueller said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
Low stress approach
I am more and more enthusiastic, in a calm yet creative way, in the low stress approach to life (and to my personal artistic nourishment and 'spiritual' fulfillment) since meeting Suzanne, which also coincides, by the way, although I met Suzanne 10 months before the fall of the Twin Towers (they filled the frame of my Manhattan bedroom window), with my post-9/11 mindset. Currently, this change in lifestyle is not just making me feel better about things, it is changing the content of my creativity, as well as the projects I am drawn to embrace. All good. Thanks for mentioning that aspect.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
dreadmon said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
And you're playing this live? Brutally excellent, Tobin. From angels dancing on the head of a pin to circus tumblers cartwheeling upon the cliffs of Santa Monica, a pebble-slip away from crashing down upon Pacific Coast Highway. You make it sound as if it could all come unglued at any moment, twin lines of notes racing apart from one another and then rushing back in to meet in the middle finding salvation in harmony, only to fall, break, scatter and run pell-mell, all the while just taking your sweet time. It's a study in contemplative mania. It is blues from an alternate universe, it crosses every boundary and yet roots itself solidly at square one. Captivating, engaging, challenging and rewarding. Your music is love, anyway, but this piece is love vision. I wondered why this was screaming at the top of the ratings and now I know. Thanks for the mind-bending trip!
Check out my latest song called Don't You
TobinMueller said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
A study in contemplative mania
Man, can I use this paragraph in the liner notes? Thanks. Whew. One of the coolest reviews I've ever gotten. Thanks.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Scorpjammer said 4524 days ago (December 29th, 2006)
One disjointed composition topped off with masterful, double-jointed playing. :)

Lovely and twisted.

Way to bend my ear and musical sensibilities, T.
Check out my latest song called Christmas Time Is Here
Monkaton said 4524 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
Fats Waller Says Hi
I hear Fats Waller in that bass run about 2/3 of the way in. "Your Feet's Too Big" is one of my favorite pieces and that bass reminds me of that song.

Great playing, as always, and a good composition. I like the laid back free-wheeling playing you did hear.
Check out my latest song called Blue Tie
Mcboy said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
playful monk......
i remember hearing an npr radio interview with chick corea where he played....( and inspired me immensly to study and try to play in different styles)... the styles of fats waller, duke ellington, oscar peterson, etc....but when he came to monk...he just blew me away....i feel the same here with this piece....it's got monk all over it but with all sorts of personal juxtapositions......enjoyed the call bass lines and upper register responses .....bravo!
Check out my latest song called Bluesphemy (MJRF 2010)
TobinMueller said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
Personal juxtapositions
Thanks for the story. Chick Corea is one of my heroes. I love the lineage of jazz, the way it is freely homages and honors and steals from and builds upon, now with more circling back than circling forward, except for those "personal juxtapositions" which lend unique personality. Thanks for noticing the call bass lines and upper register responses; I try to craft in many techniques, but ultimately let my intuition make final decisions. Like dreaming, when you let go the true creativity manifests. Thanks for listening with such historic and friendly ears. I was hoping you'd like this one.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
What a gas this is Tobin. You sure can tickle the old ivories! I feel like I'm sitting in a dark corner of a smokey old dive down in New Orleans...Oh, and love your album art! Similar to KC's "In The Wake Of Poseidon"---but BETTER!

Be well!

Juggernaut: http://www.macjams.com/song/27500
composerclark said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
Best blues
It's a blues all right; definitely belongs in the list of the best blues performances/compositions at MacJams. I like the way it occasionally veers 'out there' and then comes back.

Is this notated?
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
TobinMueller said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
Thanks. Yes, it will be "completely" notated, as will all the tunes in the commission, as before with "Morning Whispers." Right now, there are a bunch of bass lines, melody notations, and chordal annotations on a large score sheet that I used to use for orchestral scoring. I use a giant double-wide music stand that sits behind my keyboard and marks up the wall with ugly black gashes. Notating of these pieces adds a layer of discipline I find very useful, even tho I hate doing it while I'm doing it, I am always thankful afterwards. Sometimes I play in stuff and print out Finale™ versions of sections, if I was able to play within the click as I composed. Eventually, I output everything in Finale™.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
alanfraser said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
Very New York and really not my style but excellent jams that bring all kinds of visuals. I'm intrigued by the Catch-22 in trying to add from your subconscious and trying to visualize party hats or whatever while you play as that may well provide that channel. Interesting notion!
Check out my latest song called Too Much or Not Enough - Live at 20th Century
TobinMueller said 4522 days ago (December 31st, 2006)
Head parties
Thanks. I'm glad you gave it a listen. By the way, my esoteric mention of thinking about cool hats and turning in circles while playing had more to do with Monk than partying. I was thinking about how he would turn in circles while standing in a room, or standing next to his piano waiting to enter the jam, a manifestation of his growing insanity issues according to most experts, yet I always got the impression it was a reaction to how he could not contain the energy and music spinning around his head; and how he was usually wearing cool hats. I usually visualize stuff, at least in the compositional phase of a tune, when I don't have to be thinking ahead about precise hand positioning, etc.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
echoroom said 4523 days ago (December 30th, 2006)
Were you
.. in a smokey bar when you wrote this, engulfed in a fug of cigarette smoke, nicotene dripping from the walls? Sure sounds like it.

Cool and classy, you are an artists and an inspiration Tobin.

Check out my latest song called Light Sleeper
snowdragon said 4523 days ago (December 31st, 2006)
well, well, well
Careful Tobin. This is how it starts, experimenting wtih a jazzy 12-bar progression . . . next you'll be thinking "now who can I get to play a little slide gee-tah?"

Now, repeat after me . . .

"I feel so bad,
"Lawd have mercy
"Tell the truth now . . ." :)

A cool tune, very Monkish.

Just on the off chance you haven't heard of it, John Mayall's Jazz-Blue Fusion album explored some similar themes.
Check out my latest song called Nightmares
TobinMueller said 4522 days ago (December 31st, 2006)
Lawd have mercy!
If I could ever sound hip enough, I might share me singing real blues with someone other than Suzanne, but since that day will never come, I continue to shy away from sharing such a debacle. Still, the pull is there. Your comments made me smile. Thanks.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
TobinMueller said 4522 days ago (December 31st, 2006)
John Mayall
...and yes, I am a John Mayall fan (I love great harmonica). I carry guilt with me to this day that when I was 14 years old I accidentally spilled soda on a Bluesbreakers album and an instant later someone spilled a bunch of crumbs from their plate (the turntable was on the floor), and subsequent mishaps resulted in the album getting wrecked. I can't listen to him without recalling that.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Z293 said 4522 days ago (December 31st, 2006)
I'm Always So
Jealous of great piano playing. This was a great diversion from you're usual offerings and I like the concept of the 13 Masks, the artwork as always is a perfect match.
Check out my latest song called La Pavillon
rtcooper said 4522 days ago (December 31st, 2006)
No Over Compression in sight.

A Bright Reminder of my Hero.

You Can Amaze one, Young Man.


Very Best,

Check out my latest song called The Loon and the Hula Moon (mstr)
gregd said 4521 days ago (January 1st, 2007)
Let Go!!!
This rocks my socks. I think you're spread on the chords and solos are even more eccentric than Monk usually played, which is a lot of fun to hear.

Don't Stop!
Check out my latest song called 08nov08
haribo said 4520 days ago (January 2nd, 2007)
right after christmas dinner, where everyone sat in front of tv, i'd snuggle into my room listening to this tune with some leftover champagne and chocolates... it'd be the coziest thing!
witty, whimsical & masterfully arranged.
thanks for sharing
Check out my latest song called Clouds
mikkinylund said 4520 days ago (January 2nd, 2007)
What a great musical artwork, performance and production. This hit me instantly, unlike some of your other masterpieces that sometimes have taken many listening before it built itself. This is at times very bluesy, but I think what I like even more is the madness that sometimes makes itself heard - the surrealistic, and free landscape. The low octave piano towards the end is very stong. This is a very pleasant surprise! Nice work, please stay subconscious more often... /Mikki
Check out my latest song called Rune XV
derrenleepoole said 4519 days ago (January 3rd, 2007)
Yeah Man!
Fantastic! Takes me back to the Blues Festival in Colne Lancashire! MAny a merry time had there ;)
Check out my latest song called Chance Meeting
Tiny_Man_Inside said 4519 days ago (January 3rd, 2007)
just pretty damned cool. Nice feel to it... very Monkish, no doubt.

Check out my latest song called Zucchini: TMI Amp Giveaway Soundbed #2
Tiny_Man_Inside said 4519 days ago (January 3rd, 2007)
another thing
oh, and by the way, I LOVE that heavy chord progression that you bust out about 3/4 of the way through the piece. Would love to wrap my Les Paul and Marshall around that.

<a href="http://www.macjams.com/song/25785">Let's ROCK!</a>
Check out my latest song called Zucchini: TMI Amp Giveaway Soundbed #2
paul f. page said 4517 days ago (January 5th, 2007)
A Monk...
You know, Tobin, I'm always a little annoyed when someone says, "Oh, that sounds like..." In my view, your music--this wonderful little blues piece--stands up by itself without comparison to anything else. You've got such a relaxed feel to your playing that makes the performance very comfortable. Such a pleasure to hear a fine composer/pianist working in such a secure environment and with such control. Glad you let me know where to look for this. (Don't shortchange yourself: you sound like YOU, period...thankfully.)
Peace (on the earth!),

Check out my latest song called Caprice
TobinMueller said 4516 days ago (January 6th, 2007)
Many thanks
"...you sound like YOU, period...thankfully" Such a wonderful compliment, thank you very much, Paul. Yes, I am in a stage of life where sounding like someone else is entirely beside the point; I only want to do music that is an extension of my unique perspective. What I really meant, tho, is that I am indebted to Monk (and others) and began this piece as a homage, fully intentioned on taking the style to a new place, my own. Thank you for pointing that out. I appreciate your own endeavors in this regard as well.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Tadashi Togawa said 4513 days ago (January 10th, 2007)
Adventure of the discord
However, the discord is feelings good.
One beauty sense.

Check out my latest song called Mexican taste
said 4512 days ago (January 10th, 2007)
One of my favorites is monk. I say leave the imperfections its what makes it perfect. the heavy handed piano realy sets it off very cool!
buckhorn said 4512 days ago (January 11th, 2007)
How do you spell
Whoa? To my uneducated ear... you've taken a simple and cliched form and given it a super original treatment. It struck me and put me in a paralell mind state, I was suddenly thinking about that twilight zone episode where all the fellow wants to do is read books then he breaks his glasses...Hume Cronin or Burgess Meredith.. see I still can't think straight...... really good and original work.
Check out my latest song called when you smile
said 4499 days ago (January 24th, 2007)
play this on a MiniMoog.....

said 4499 days ago (January 24th, 2007)
oh yeah,
cool song picture also...

<a href="http://www.katchoolik.com" target="_blank"> Katch </a>
<img src="http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a244/katchoolik/sunflowerkat.jpg"alt="Image hosted by Photobucket">
TobinMueller said 4498 days ago (January 24th, 2007)
Something cool about playing it on a piano, in my ears. I know if I did it on a synth, the notes my fingers went to would be much different. I am toying with having my next solo album be on differing keyboards, tho. Thanks for the encouragement.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
guitapick said 4497 days ago (January 25th, 2007)
This is real fine. I love the blues and I love Monk... Just got to those heavy duty octave bass notes. Got it turned up. And now the descending high notes coming back down to the original theme. This is serious stuff, Tobin.
Wheeeooowwww...that was nice.
Check out my latest song called 'Cuz I Can
Norman Goodman said 4440 days ago (March 23rd, 2007)
Overall I enjoyed this. The core of the piece had some very enjoyable elements that I thought were particularily clever. I did find some of the phrasing of some of the improvisations to be a little awkward and to my ears that was a little distracting which tended to draw my attention away from what would otherwise be an extraordinary piece. Perhaps consider simplifying some of your phrasing in the heat of emotive improv. Allow for a delivery with more subtle phrasing that embellishes on your theme tastefully... you do not need bombastic technical delivery to get your ideas across, I feel you posess that rare innate musical ability to do so without overcompensating. To be honest that is a something I notice in many of your songs.... but consider the source of the remarks and if you notice I seem to be alone in my assessment. Again I should reiterate that i do really like this piece, and do feel you are an excellent player!
Check out my latest song called Love Devotion Surrender
said 4431 days ago (April 2nd, 2007)
ThankYou : )
This is sooo cool !!!!!!!!!
five_extra_arms said 4387 days ago (May 15th, 2007)
You nailed a really authentic sound on this particular piece. How come 'less practice' works so well for you?

I am so impressed.

I especially like the 13 Masks concept for your cd. The imagery is perfect. What a great package of experiences you're providing us.

Thanks Tobin.
Check out my latest song called Draw
Ibstrat said 4343 days ago (June 28th, 2007)
Tobin-I had to check out your music since you list yourself as one of my fans even though I have no songs posted yet.(Maybe Ed Hannifin sent you some of my music.)
That song really impressed me-it has everything I like in music.Melody,interesting harmony,blues feel,HUMOR(Very rare especially in any current jazz.)
I must go and listen to some more of your stuff!
Check out my latest song called What the
TobinMueller said 4339 days ago (July 2nd, 2007)
Any friend of Ed's
...is a friend of mine.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
jaw said 4333 days ago (July 8th, 2007)
yeah i can see myself at some jazz club/bar (and having a great time) nice notes. super feel.
Check out my latest song called 1-5-08
guygrooves said 4061 days ago (April 5th, 2008)
So cool!!!
You can be sure both Thelonious and Oscar have this on their playlist. It is a favorite of mine now. Absolutely wonderful Tobin.
Check out my latest song called Last Day Here 1998
keedragoon said 3766 days ago (January 25th, 2009)
I thank your sister
I love the jazzy variations in your blues. What an interesting way to put blues. I love it.
I really do thank your sister for making you learn to play piano. (i am sorry for the loss though).
wonderful piece I did enjoy it.
Check out my latest song called hot muggy nights
Artist Info
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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