Impressions of Water & Light
  • Released: May 24, 2014
  • 13 track(s)

Impressions of Water and Light is the first album of The Masterworks Trilogy in which Mueller explores the intersections between classical and jazz piano. Impressionism has many things in common with modern jazz. This album won “2014 Album of the Year” on SoloPiano.com under the “Other” category.

As an interpretive pianist, Mueller approaches the music of the Impressionists as a contemporary jazz musician. The result is a kind of Impressionist Jazz style that is compelling and innovative.

“I thought the project would turn into a jazz collection with Impressionist overtones,’ Mueller writes, “and some of these pieces are. But mostly I found myself forging a balance between Impressionism and jazz, creating a Neo-Classical post-Impressionist hybrid: Impressionist Jazz. Some pieces sound like re-arrangements, familiar, yet with a new tonal setting. Some are fresh compositions that merely quote a few known passages. Some are theme and variations, as old and new duel, collaboratively. All are Fantasies that explore the intimacy between jazz and Impressionist music, between myself and some of my favorite composers. I hope you are able to go back to the originals, to reconnect with them; the contrast will heighten your enjoyment. I know I’ll never hear them the same again.”

These piano realizations are inventive, as they creatively flower from the roots of familiar impressionistic compositions. They are wonderfully played by Tobin Mueller with sumptuous yet carefree styling. A beautiful synthesis of melodic tethers, pleasing harmonics and jazzy counterpoint.” - Richard Schletty

“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. A good example of this is in Dance for a Princess Gone. Mueller sees the melody as a “lullaby of care and loss,” and he alters the chords in a New Age jazz manner to create an aching melancholy. Other highlights include: River God at Play, based on Ravel’s Jeux d’eau, in which Mueller delivers the tinkling water in the treble and the resonant deep in the bass; his virtuoso arrangement of John Alden Carpenter’s Tango Américaine; Sitting with Satie, in which Mueller takes inspiration from Bill Evans’s 1963 Conversations with Myself. The sound is very live and sensitive to the nuances of the piano.

“The printed booklet is a lovely addition to the experience. In it Mueller pairs a late 19th-century or early 20th-century painting with each of the tracks and adds his own liner notes analyzing the musical and poetic themes of the melodies and their connection to the visual universe of the painters.” - Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, Fanfare Magazine

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