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Rob Mullins :: Storyteller Rob Mullins. RME 2008
by Anna Gladkih

“The shortes distance between truth and a human being is a story” Anthony De Mello

There are many stories in the world. Every day is a new story, every life is another one, every night, every sunrise, every road, every building, every book, every album, every love. You start to look at it, read it, experience it, listen to it, and at the beginning of it you can not even fancy what will happen in the mid of at the end. Yes, you can assume or predict, or follow your intuition, but you don’t know for sure. You will try to understand all the curves of it, and you first of all will be amazed by human’s nature, its deepness and inner strength. You can find a lot for your soul and heart in many stories, you’ll get wiser and richer from them…

Listen to Storyteller by Rob Mullins. Or “ Rob Mullins-Storyteller”. Piano player, composer, teacher, producer, Rob Mullins released Storyteller at the beginning of this year. It is his 17th solo work, and it deserves close attention. It does not belong to straight ahead jazz, be bop, fusion or any of up-to-date styles. It is really something new in the music world.

11 songs, 11 stories, and 11 stories as one important story. Rob Mullins has been on music stage for a long time, and now he represents something that does not sound, feels or defines like known.

Introduction is a song named Storyteller. Calm, measured steps include some influences of Russian classical music and the Middle Eastern music ( as R.M. says), and maybe this composition was inspired by Mullins’ impression coming to Russia, also he admits he loves Russian classical music. A frame and intriguing introduction comes to

Escher’s Etude – Mullins’ perception of Escher’s 1953 piece “”Relativity”. Flowing melody, on the top of pulsing bass line, and supportive drums, keeps you wondering what is going to happen later, and tonal aberrations leads to subtle and at the same time strong climax, it reaches its top, and the voices of piano call one to another and disappear.

Third song of this album , called Prime Time one of the abstract stories as Mullins says in his comments. Everybody has his prime time, not only TV channels, and probably this song one of the most “classy -jazz” on the album. Constant accompaniment of percussion and cymbals’ sound create kind of Cuban mood in the music, and piano solos are high qualified and astonishing.

Lyrical center of the album is Sleep Sweet, an amazing lullaby. Slow, touching, and heartfelt melody, only piano solo and the artist. Second part of Sleep Sweet leads us to Classical music, Chopin, Beethoven and List. An improvisation is very unusual for jazz music, and bring us back to the best tradition of 19th century, but the content is modern..

As anybody on the Earth, the composer comes Back to the Day. We always do that . And Mullins chooses to go back to his early creative style –with sound of still keyboards on the background, calm beat, and very interesting polyphonic methods - in the dark tones, bottom register piano chords repeat just played same ones in the middle of piano.

Next 2 songs are tied together in some ways. Run No More – is an intensive, impetuous song,, drawning you into some chase, or chain of the events, going one after another. Same accompaniment stays unchangeable, and only some burst of emotions get through. Then a new theme appears, and the drums hollowly answer to the piano tunes. At the end the composition suddenly slows down, and getting into another song,

Tears for America, a work of art of Mullins music. Borrowed parts of Run No More create a net, which is getting filled with complicated and sophisticated, avant-guard flashes, cryes and voices of piano, some in major tone, some just hanging in the air, making a listener to go deep in the thoughts. Tears that were cried for America, Americans’ tears, and a hope for better times.

Sunny, perky, full of life In the Sun reminds Mullins’ Island Girls. Joyful like composer’s Joyful Noyz , energetic and positive will not leave you indifferent, but will involve you into happiness of life, with acoustic sound reminding happy singing.

Scarborough is another chance for composer to show how different his music is, his interpretations you can not compare to any of others, and this hit song becomes a new important item in the line of the interpretations.

Last two songs – The Smile and Family are ending the album, and they are full of sense of life, human’s nature and express the closest look at the art and life. Inspired by Da Vinci and personal memories, they are dark,, the light and tell us the most beautiful stories of this album. A real climax of the album, the songs are opening to us an understanding of how important the music is, and how you create a new world, just having a piano, a bass player ( Larry Antonino, high-skilled musician with a great sense and feeling of the music), heart, mind and fantasy.
Also, Mullins recorded this album only with help of bass player, and performed on piano, drums, keyboards and percussion himself.

A strong, new wave of this music inspires and amazes you, as well as its strength, depth and love in it. Art is alive, and thrilling.

published 28.08.2008 © 2005 jazz news :: home page