Robert Muller is a pianist from Portland, Oregon, with experience ranging from smokey bars to international music festivals. A freewheeling and exuberant improviser, he’s known for a distinctly modern approach informed as much by funk as by traditional jazz and Western classics.
He’s also a supportive sideman and competent music director who can use his broad experience to bring out the best in those around him.
He studied closely with Blue Note jazz great Dr. Andrew Hill at Portland State University for several years and performed extensively on the West Coast doing everyone from local jazz gigs to touring with a Shriner’s Circus, to sideman work for various Persian pop artists. He moved to New York City in the early 90’s and became active in the downtown music scene with his own trio Timefly. Robert appeared on MTV2 with underground hip-hop artist Pete Miser and performed regularly with several original music projects at venues like SOB’s, The Knitting Factory, The Blue Note, and Studio 54.
After moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico some ten years later, he immediately started to do studio work and performances with Grammy-winning guitarist Larry Mitchell on multiple songs and albums for various artists, including NAMMY winning singer and songwriter Shelley Morningsong. He co-leads the modern jazz project Kodama Trio, who just received two 2016 New Mexico Music Awards for Best Jazz CD and Best Jazz Single (a song Robert wrote called Milespost 22) for their eponymous debut album. Robert is also a frequent sideman and collaborator with Mvskoke poet/author/musician Joy Harjo, not just in New Mexico but in venues and festivals as far-flung as Alaska, Tulsa, and the Public Theater in New York City. In 2015 he performed at NAMM in special events featuring artists that included Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Larry Mitchell, and Steve Morse, and in April of 2016 he was the music director for a tribute honoring bassist Nathan East as part of the 2016 New Mexico Film and Music Experience where he led a New Mexico-based all-star tribute band as well as backing up the East family’s performance.
Robert worked as an adjunct professor of music at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s (formerly College of Santa Fe) Contemporary Music Program from 2013-2016. He uses music gear from companies including Yamaha, Nord, Kawai Pianos, Korg, Roland, Novation, Universal Support Systems, Apple, Event Audio, Ultimate Ears, and Ableton, in addition to vintage keyboards like the Fender Rhodes, Hohner Clavinet and various organs.
some of the people and groups I have worked with:
“Despite the obviously cooperative nature of the trio, Muller’s piano dominates throughout. A percussive, muscular player in the mold of McCoy Tyner, he’s a remarkable soloist with a wealth of rhythmic and melodic ideas and a yen for dark and gnarly harmonies.”
Kodama Trio CD Review (Allaboutjazz.com)
“Muller brings a spritely, spiky energy that contrasts nicely with the mellower qualities of tuba and ’bone. His adventurous, muscular solos incorporate elements from bebop to funk, with touches of hip-hop attitude. “
Christian Pincock CD Review (Melminter.com)
“Muller is like a vampire in that if you invite him in he’ll always just kind of be around. Also, he’s a pretty amazing pianist, so… “
Pranzo (Santa Fe Reporter)
“There are proggy elements at play that present a more rock ’n’ roll sensibility than many might think when they hear the qualifier “jazz” and if nothing else, these guys are all f*cking bonkers when it comes to musicianship. “
Mushi Trio Review (Santa Fe Reporter)
Pete Miser: The piano player is just … so hyper-musical, like kind of jazz-based. He’s a student of Andrew Hill. He’s so out that he goes into the anti-music zone, you know what I mean?
Cosmik: Playing off someone who’s in that frame of mind must be kind of inspirational for you.
Pete Miser: Yeah, it’s dope.
Cosmik Debris Magazine (Pete Miser Interview)
Please drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you!
Oh, and I’m also involved with photography… If you’re curious, please visit robertmullerphotography.com