Tobin Mueller: River Runs Through Me


River Runs Through Me


Tobin Mueller (organ)


Rain Bather

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Tobin Mueller (organ), Chris Mueller (piano),

Woody Mankowski (soprano sax)


Composed by Tobin Mueller


Recorded: Wisconsin, 2008


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

As a writer for, I choose selected cuts to review based upon what I feel are "noteworthy" jazz performances. There are many such performances on keyboardist and composer Tobin Mueller's Rain Bather. So how do I decide which to review? I have different criteria I like to use, but one is to choose a piece most different from the rest of the material. To me this is a good way to determine an artist's scope. Most of Rain Bather is take-no-prisoners jazz/fusion/sometimes electronica/swing. In contrast, "River Runs Through Me" is a lovely ballad performed by a most unusual trio. Leader Tobin Mueller plays B-3 organ. His nephew Chris Mueller stars on acoustic piano. This unusual duo is joined by the saxophonist Woody Mankowski.

In my review of another cut from the album, "Must Go Back," I talk about my intrigue with the sonic combination of B-3 organ and acoustic piano. This performance only deepens that interest. Mankowski plays the beautiful melody with a caring knowledge. Pianist Mueller then appears alone and continues the trend. Further on, pianist and saxophonist express more of their feelings as the B-3 adds unique shading and flourishes. Tobin Mueller's scope and generosity both come across on this CD. He is quite capable of soloing and showing off. Instead he stays back a bit, adding just the right ingredients to make everything work in a most interesting way. He is a rhythm keeper without playing rhythm and an accompanist without accompanying in the traditional sense. It is quite fascinating. I am unaware of anyone else playing B-3 in quite this way.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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