Born: January 10, 1958 Primary Instrument: Piano
During his productive career as a pianist, composer, bandleader and educator, Rob Mullins has performed in many different settings and styles. His versatile approach has allowed him to erase the artificial boundary line between contemporary and traditional jazz, sounding like himself in all idioms. Mullins' discography is very diverse and is best viewed release by release rather than song by song or sub genre.
TRUE June 2012-RME (Live record with the Quartet)
The Edge Of Dreams April 2010-RME (solo piano)
Darkest Night Sept 2009-RME (world music)
Early Works The 90's July 2009-RME (radio music, jazz fusion)
Early Works The 80's Vol I and II June 2009-RME (radio music, jazz fusion)
Jazz Straight Ahead Sept 2008-RME (straight ahead jazz)
All music from Mullins' 22 solo albums is available online.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ MUSICIAN RANKING: Number 10 of all living jazz artists (as of July 2010).
George Russell, Freddie Hubbard, Branford Marsalis, Hubert Laws, Ronnie Laws, Eric Marienthal, Ndugu Chancler, Jerry Vivino, Alphonso Johnson, Spike Robinson, Ernie Watts, Brian Bromberg, Dave Carpenter, Robben Ford, Paul McCandless, Ricky Lawson, Doug Webb, Coolio, Tommy Davidson, Ray Anthony, Brandy, Joel Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Henderson, Lee Oscar, Rayford Griffin, Phil Upchurch, Roy Gaines, Steve Allen, Dianne Schuur, Dave Grusin, Wilton Felder, Ron Eschete, Zachary Breaux, Carl Saunders, Harvey Mason, Bob Shepard, Hoyt Axton, Buddy Emmons, Bruce Willis, Lee Thornbug, David Woodard, Skunk Baxter, Dave Weckl, Olivia Olson, Sarah Ingraham, Sophia Melon, Jonathan Blake, Gregg Field, Ralph Penland, Larry Kimpel, Igor Butman.
Full bio at All Music Guide.
TOP RADIO HITS
Making Love, Nadine, Schroeder Meets Basie, Japanese Girl, Samba, Bay Wolf Blues, 5th Gear, Jazz Jazz, Illusions, Breakthrough, Last Day of Summer, Monk's Ghost, Here In My Heart, Tell It Like it is, Before U Go, One Night In Houston, Quiet Fire, Dance for the New World, Wednesday, In The Sun, Escher's Etude, So In Love With You (USA)
Tokyo Nights, No Secrets, Memory Lane, Before U Go, Tarantula, Roppongi Crossing, Why She Went Away (JAPAN)
Dance For the New World, Samba, She's Too Cool, Lullaby (UK)
Back In The Day, Making Love (CANADA)
House of Broken Dreams, Back in The Day (RUSSIA)
Darkest Night ALBUM ACTIVITY
Darkest Night, a world-beat jazz piece was released in July 2009 by Rob Mullins. Sonically similar to previous releases Storyteller and Dance For The New World, Darkest Night presents a sonic landscape of the piano amidst low drums and high percussion.
Jazz Straight Ahead ALBUM ACTIVITY
Jazz Straight Aheadwas released in September 2008. Featuring originals and standards and an all star cast, listeners around the world enjoy a showstopping version of Georgia On My Mind proclaimed the definitive instrumental version of the song. The original song Jazz Jazz amazes with the sheer compositional power of its sophistication and amazing solo performances. The title track pulls from the chord changes of Giant Steps as well as the Blues and romps out with piano riffs at the end that dazzle in their speed and harmonic interest. Available only as a download, this release is the 18th Rob Mullins album.
Storyteller ALBUM ACTIVITY
Storyteller reached the Amazon bestseller Top 10 in July 2008. At the same time, Standards and More--the 2006 Rob Mullins straight ahead jazz release--also made the Top 10. Storyteller peaked at number 8, one rank below Chick Corea's Light As A Feather album. Standards and more peaked at number 9, one rank ahead of Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue.
COMPOSER's NOTES on Storyteller by Rob Mullins
Storyteller is different than anything else I've ever officially released. Anyone familiar with my work knows that I am drawn to blur the lines between traditional and contemporary jazz, straightahead jazz, R&B, funk, and even bebop. Purists are sometimes challenged and even off-put by my tendency to cross the line in this way and for this reason my music is sometimes hard to categorize.
With Storyteller, I had two choices: Either finally give in to the purists and pundits and do something completely predictable and genre- specific OR truly commit myself to reviewing my previous 16 hours of recordings as a composer and inject my life experience into a sound and style built on my past but taking my music to a new higher level of excellence.
I was getting really disappointed watching all my favorite peers in jazz release Tribute after Tribute album with no one composing any original music. I don't like this trend in jazz today...it makes me think that many of my contemporaries are out of gas, so they keep recording more and more songs composed by other people.
This, my seventeenth published work, builds on all the key points that have come to define my musical philosophy and my mission as an artist: That jazz is the Pangaea of all modern music. That all music (lyrical, instrumental, or otherwise), is the most universal form of storytelling. That stories uplift the human spirit, impart wisdom, evoke emotion, and by extension, improve the world. That my mission as a music maker is to be a compelling Storyteller. If there is a way to improve the world, then the only way to do it is to tell a good story. --Dr. Deepak Chopra, Iconoclasts
Storyteller is also a reflection of the growing international footprint of my career both as a composer and as a performer. As I write this, I am literally getting ready to hop on a plane bound for my third concert performance in Moscow; the first of which was as a player for the renowned Hubert Laws. My international travels over the past 20 years include trips to Japan for live gigs, TV commercials, and album projects, Communist North Vietnam's Hanoi Opera House for a solo concert, Europe with the Crusaders and Eric Marienthal, Dubai, Switzerland, England and France with Bruce Willis as well as gigs around the US playing the roles of event host, star performer, sideman, MD, journalist, and bandleader have given me tremendous respect and admiration for the universality of sound around the world and for the oneness achieved in combining local cultural flavor with the fundamental roots of music and methodic principles. The question then, was how to combine all of this diversity into that told my story, my life up to this point in time. I started as I always do, with the piano.
On acoustic bass is Larry Antonino. He was the perfect choice for this endeavor. We've collaborated on each other's projects since the 1990's when we played together for Ronnie Laws. As a solid player in my bands for literally years now, he really knows my sound, my evolution, my mission. His open-mindedness, his receptivity, his own daring and creativity really shine in this project.
The album opens with the title track, Storyteller. This seminal track defines the framework of the whole album concept pushing the edges of a jazz ballad with influences from around the world such as Russia and the Middle East. There are also intentional references to SOULSCAPE not only one of my most commercially and critically successful albums but, more importantly, a seminal album I did that was watered down by followers who created some very boring smooth jazz out of my ideas over the next decades..
What would happen if famed graphic artist, M.C. Escher, wrote music? Escher's Etude is my musical depiction of his 1953 piece, Relativity in which he explores so called impossible constructions. In this famous work, lines of people ascend and descend staircases in an infinite loop. I constructed a melody line with the angularity of it moving against the baseline seeking to mirror Escher's hypnotic manipulations of perception and perspective. 'Escher's Etude' has a one-chord vamp that alternates with a complex bridge that hints at John Coltrane's 'Giant Steps.' Since the bridge reappears in unpredictable spots, it keeps listeners guessing. --Scott Yanow, author of nine jazz books including Swing, Bebop, Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76
Next up is Prime Time, a catchy melody with a unique bass line, unusual chord changes, and fun surprises around every bend. Some of the stories in this album are literal; others are more abstract. But suffice it to say, this tune is about feelin' good, steppin' out, and livin' it up. Here I was using some complex (so I have been told by band members) chord sustitutions in the chorus of this song. and making arpeggios work in unusual ways over the bass line. Try taking a solo over the changes and see how far you get before scratching your head I overheard at a recent rehearsal.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my career in recent years is having the opportunity to produce new artists and to substantially expand my role as a music educator to student artists with serious aspirations to become professional artists. This has brought me to many explorations at the cusp of jazz and classical music.
Sleep Sweet is a lullaby with Beethoven-inspired styling played in two parts: The first part adheres strictly to the melody. The second part aims to improvise over the chords without altering the piece's overall progression and integrity. It was a different and unique challenge for me to improvise, as a jazz musician might attempt, but to do so within the classical idiom. I have never recorded anything like this before.
Back In The Day, is a nostalgic look at my roots in the music scene going back to the 1980's and 90's. During that era I attracted a really large African- American following to my music and was getting a lot of radio airplay. In this piece, I am paying tribute to all of the people who are still out there from then who are still listening to my music. It is a fresh twist on the old-school me, the part of me that will never really go away.
Run No More is a cinematic piece about facing the music and breaking through one's own fears. The listener may picture a race or a chase in a forest scene or a river or a winding road. The imagery is all rather personal and subjective. This piece is the soundtrack for the last few moments of trial, tribulation, struggle, and self-doubt right when it all catches up with you and you finally resolve to accept what is,to take responsibility for it, and to Run No More.
Tears For America is a musical commentary on the state of the world and on the disparity between how things are and how we wish them to be. I borrowed four bars from Run No More in order to carry over part of the theme and the rest is an improvisation for piano and bass. In this piece, Larry Antonino uses a really unique bass that has an additional high C string. I'd never seen one like that before and it evoked some really rewarding moments I'm glad we were able to capture.
Coming out of a piece as abstract and introspective as Tears, I wanted to lighten things up a bit and emerge in a joyful piece with a celebratory theme. In The Sun gives us the dawn of a new day. This song is about gratitude. It is about being happy to be alive with music in our hearts. It is also an expansion on some of the themes I started in several of my past works such as Schroeder Meets Basie, Samba and the Joyful Noyz Project. 'In The Sun' includes an infectious piano pattern, some high energy playing, and a very rare Rob Mullins drum solo taken entirely on the snare drum. --Scott Yanow, author of nine jazz books including Swing, Bebop, Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76
Scarborough is inspired by a centuries-old folk song long that existed long before Simon & Garfunkel made a pop standard out of it. Inspired by Hubert Laws' adaptation of classical themes on his CTI albums, I put the piece in alternating 6/8 and 9/8 time, changed the key, modulated to a different key in the second chorus, and added an entirely new section for the solos a la Hubert Laws' chord cycles during the CTI period.
The Smile is the most spiritual yet turbulent piece in Storyteller. It is, on its own, a journey in everything I wanted to say with this album both musically and in terms of the subject matter. In the same way that Da Vinci chose to leave the significance of Mona Lisa's smile a mystery for the enjoyment of those who know where to look, so too The Smile reveals some of my deepest thoughts and emotions to those who know where to listen. I based the melody on the song Dancing Through The Day from a 1981 release.
Family is one of my most personal expressions and candidly it tugs at my heartstrings almost as much as Sleep Sweet. This nostalgic solo piano improvisation is dedicated to family and loved ones close enough to regard as family. It is about the ups, the downs, the love, the laughter, and the life you just can't imagine without them.
As I come to the close of these notes, I realize how happy I am to be still making music after surviving the many challenges of the musician's life and I look forward to carrying the torch of American creativity to the world as long as I am breathing air. ROB MULLINS LA CA 3/8/08
Storyteller is one of Rob Mullins' most intriguing, heartfelt and successful recordings in a career full of accomplishments. Scott Yanow, author of nine jazz books including Swing, Bebop, Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76
Source: Scott Yanow
Awards:Grammy Nomination for "Soulscape" album 1986
Congressional Award for Public Service to the Educational Community 2000
Jazz Arist of the Year LA Music Awards 2003
#1 Teaching Studio in the Nation 2005 Award from Privatelessons.com
We love your new album STORYTELLER Lee Berk Berklee School of Music
Highly recommended Rick Anderson ALL MUSIC GUIDE
One of the true unsung heroes of contemporary jazz Jonathan Widran ALL MUSIC GUIDE
Breathtaking and tremendously moving, his compositions are a pleasure Bernard Bauer Music Connection
Pianist Rob Mullins makes major statements in both jazz and a combination of Latinized-rock into a fusion that is all his own Glenn Mitchell LA JAZZ SCENE
Rob Mullins is so far ahead of everybody else, it will be awhile before the rest of the world catches up, if they do. Bubba Jackson KJAZZ Radio FM 88.1
Rob Mullin's STORYTELLER CD is one of the best musical compositions I've ever heard. His ability to keep evolving through his music is inspiring. This particular CD has a classical touch to it while Mullins remains true to his jazz roots. The classical infuence is especially evident in the piece, Sleep Sweet. Still, every other song invokes the feeling of pure fascination! He blends the two musical genres together in such an extraordinary way that the listener is swept away into a world of beauty. Mullins is doing what he was surely born to do and that is to compose and play great music. I believe history will portray him as one of the most important musicians of our time! Cheryl Hullin-Amazon.com
Rob Mullins is a pianist at the level of Keith Jarrett and I encourage you to implement his educational programs. Ghenady Meirson-Curtis University
Rob Mullins is the most prolific composer in JAZZ today. Ronnie Laws- saxophonist
What artistry! Hubert Laws-flautist
Very few great teachers are great players, and very few great players are great teachers. Rob Mullins is a stellar example of a great player who is also a great teacher. Greg Woll-Fullerton College Director of Jazz Studies
I must say, the Rob Mullins Trio set was dazzling. Larry Jackstein- Snowbird Jazz Festival
Dancing Through The Day
Music For Lovers
One Night In Houston (Live to 2 track studio recording Ocean Way Studio)
Dance For The New World
Winter Dreams (Solo Piano)
Galaxy 12 (Electronic)
Welcome to Planetmullins!
Rob Mullins Greatest Hits for Disclavier (2001)
America The Beautiful (Live Recording)
Standards and More (Live Recording)
Jazz Straight Ahead
Early Works The 80's Vol I
Early Works The 80's Vol II
Early Works-The 90's
Darkest Night-(digital single)
The Edge Of Dreams
We Remember 9/11 Nine Year Anniversary
As A Side Musician, Composer, Producer
The Odd Couple
Back To The Groove
Tourist In Paradise
Storm Then The Calm
You Know That Feeling
The McCauley Sessions
Turn Up The Heat
Wake Up Call
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Los Angeles, CA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
A dedicated instructor for 30 years, Rob Mullins runs a top music school in Los Angeles tied to the entertainment industry. Curriculums include jazz studies for piano, wind instruments, singers, and percussionists. Rob also teaches many technology students interested in studio production, songwriting, music for the internet, and music business students. Full information is available at www.planetmullins.com/lessons.htm. Interested musicians can also call 310- 572-7245 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Humor is the key ingredient to providing serious student advice and information. Clinics sponsored by Yamaha, Fields Pianos, West LA Music, Music Teachers Association of California. Recent clinics in Moscow, Los Angeles, Orange County California, Santa Fe New Mexico. To book Rob for a clinic please call 310-572-7245.