pianist • keyboardist • composer • improviser
Robert Muller is an in-demand pianist and keyboardist based in Santa Fe, NM, with experience ranging from smokey local bars to international festivals. A freewheeling and exuberant improviser, he’s known for a distinctly modern and soulful musical approach informed as much by classic bebop as by Brian Eno and 80s pop. He is preparing to release multiple recording projects in the jazz and ambient music realms in early 2023.
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 everything from local Portland jazz gigs to touring with a Shriner’s Circus in British Columbia and working as a sideman with Iranian pop stars.
He moved to New York City in the mid 90s and became active in the downtown music scene with his own trio Timefly and as a sideman for several original acts. Robert appeared several times on MTV2 with underground hip-hop artist Pete Miser and performed at venues like SOB’s, The Knitting Factory, The Blue Note, Mercury Lounge, and Studio 54.
After moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico some eleven years later, he immediately started to do studio work and performances with Grammy-winning guitarist Larry Mitchell for several award-winning artists, including NAMMY-winning singer and songwriter Shelley Morningsong.
He co-leads the modern jazz project Kodama Trio, whose eponymous debut album received 2016 New Mexico Music Awards for Best Jazz CD and Best Jazz Single. He is the pianist for Entourage Jazz, winners of Albuquerque Magazine’s Best Band in Albuquerque for 2022, and he was proud to participate in their Entourage Swings the Bayou tour of Louisiana in the fall of 2022. He records and performs with Ryan Montano, most recently on the 2023 single Future Smooth, and appears with New Mexico artists like Hillary Smith, Artha Meadors, Rodney Bowe, David Turner, and Ron Crowder. He has performed and recorded with Diné jazz trumpetist Delbert Anderson, including recent performances at Delbert’s 2023 Santa Fe Residency sponsored by IAIA, and on Delbert’s Clark Terry tribute project.
Robert has also been a regular sideman and collaborator with Mvskoke poet/author/musician Joy Harjo in venues and festivals as far-flung as Anchorage, Indianapolis, Tulsa, and the Public Theater in New York City. In 2019, Robert was honored to appear with her at her inauguration as the 23rd US Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress. The occasion was historic in several ways, among them: Joy is the first indiginous American Poet Laureate, it was their best-attended inaugural speech (selling out the main Calvin Coolidge Theater as well as two overflow rooms), and it’s possibly the only time the event has included a live band. Video of the event can be found on the Library of Congress’s YouTube Channel.
He uses gear from companies including Nord, Kawai Pianos, Moog, Korg, Roland, Ultimate Support Systems, Apple, Focusrite, Nektar, Event Audio, QuikLok and Ultimate Ears.
May 12, 12:30pm
May 12, 7pm
Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center
May 15, 7pm
Fall College Auditorium
May 17, 7pm
May 19, 7:30pm
Edmonds Center for the Arts
May 20, 7:30pm
Center for the Arts
May 22, 7:00pm
Boulder Arts Council
May 26, 5:30pm
Rodney Bowe Experience
May 27 (location and time tbd)
Nothing But Groove
Elysé Blanco EP release party
some of the people and groups I have worked with:
Emerson Corley/Entourage Jazz
Jeff “Skunk” Baxter
Jane Ira Bloom
Roberto “Fats” Fernandez
Hillary Smith and Chillhouse
Brendan & the Extenuating Circumstances
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 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, Robert Muller, 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)
SoundsI used to have a CDBaby player here but they’ve gone dark, I’ll update with a new player or something from Soundcloud when I get around to it, meanwhile, Kodama Trio still has our album available on Amazon, and I usually have a project or two posted on Bandcamp.
* It has recently come to my attention that my “contact” form broke at some point. Even though it would show a “thank you for your message,” screen when people sent me something, I was not actually getting anything sent to me.
I’m not really sure when it broke, but if you have sent me a message and I have not responded, I sincerely apologize, I always respond. I’m doing away with the whole “contact form” thing for now and you can just send me an email if you want to get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org