Tobin Mueller: The Gumshoe Wears a Rag


The Gumshoe Wears a Rag


Tobin Mueller (piano)


13 Masks (Simig Media SM0003)

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Tobin Mueller (piano).

Composed by Tobin Mueller


Recorded: 2007


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Tobin Mueller plays 13 solo piano pieces on 13 Masks. I have been listening to the album for several weeks, and have made several false starts at reviewing it during that time. Usually something is triggered in my mind when listening to a piece for the first time. Once that trigger kicks in, the words flow based on experience. That isn't happening with "The Gumshoe Wears a Rag." Intrinsically I know this is good music. Mueller is a technically gifted player. But this pianist is doing things I don't understand. He changes mood, intent or style every few measures. The tune is playful, serious, introspective, not so much so, jazz and not jazz. It's like what they say about the weather in New England. "Wait an hour and it will change." But in this case it is, "Wait a minute…" Mueller's music is a whole boatload of briefly expressed ideas. And he does this 13 times! But instead of becoming a frustrated listener, we want to know what he is doing and why. Thinking is good. Admittedly, we must work a bit to appreciate 13 Masks. Perhaps sequentially peeling each mask off will let us see the music's whole face. I'm game if you are.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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