Tommy Muellner

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Tommy Muellner
Tommy Muellner.jpg
Background information
Birth name Thomas Michael Muellner
Born (1953-01-25) January 25, 1953 (age 65)
Origin Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano
Associated acts Arelene Bardelle, Catherine Whitney, Ira Sullivan
Website tommujazz.com

Thomas Michael "Tommy" Muellner (born January 25, 1953) is an American jazz pianist and composer.

Early life and family[edit]

Tommy Muellner was born in Chicago, Illinois. His father, John F. Muellner (1923–2016), was Tommy's first musical influence. In his heyday, Tommy's Dad played the accordion in a dance band, and in his later years, he played organ for senior citizen functions and for pleasure at home. John Muellner's unique personality, humor, and passion for music resonates in Tommy Muellner's brilliant talent and style.

Tommy grew up surrounded by good music. With a variety of instruments from which to choose, he started playing gigs at an early age. Although he has learned to play drums, guitar, bass, and organ, Tommy's natural preference was always the piano. Tommy grew up hearing many great jazz records, but the whole family especially loved the unique jazz piano artistry of Erroll Garner. In his early twenties, Tom discovered Bill Evans "by osmosis," and considers his influence on jazz to be significant.[citation needed] After that important discovery, Muellner "realized when I finally heard the music, that jazz is more than music. It is great art and a philosophy with spiritual ramifications."

In later years, Tommy's musical influences were gleaned from the likes of Evans, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Dexter Gordon. He learned mostly from the great classic jazz recordings. He also learned a great deal from playing with master musicians like Ira Sullivan, as well as other, lesser known musicians that he worked with at a younger age. His favorite pianists include Art Tatum, Hank Jones, Bud Powell, Barry Harris, McCoy Tyner, Monty Alexander, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Steve Kuhn, Denny Zeitlin, Fred Hersch, and his close friend John Campbell.

Career[edit]

Muellner has become a respected local jazz pianist and composer.[1] He teaches jazz theory and harmony privately on a limited basis. His style includes a focus on harmonic movement, improvisation and musical interplay. He freelances with many top musicians and often plays piano for private occasions.

Jazz critic and writer Neil Tesser[2] cites that Tommy is a "pianist and tunesmith of stellar magnitude." Hammond organ jazz master Joey DeFrancesco stated, "Tommy swings, grooves, is soulful, and in total command of his instrument, plus I love him, he's one of my favorites!"

Tommy has worked with many jazz musicians, including Ira Sullivan, Eddie Daniels, Marvin Stamm, Bobby Ojeda, John Fedchock, Warren Kime, Mark Colby, Richie Cole, Von Freeman, Ron Dewar, Michael S. Smith, Isaac Redd Holt (of the Ramsey Lewis Trio), Donny Osborne and Barrett Deems of Louis Armstrong fame. Tommy has worked with vocalists, including Arlene Bardelle, Hinda Hoffman, Spider Saloff and Catherine Whitney.

Selected recordings[edit]

  • It's All About Time (February 14, 1998), Denwa; manufactured by RCA Victor Europe
  • Colleen McNabb - Don't go to strangers (May 2008), Zucca Records 884501030458
  • Sonny G - I'll Be Laughing Tonight (October 2008), Salvatore Guagliardo
  • Arlene Bardelle - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (February 2012), Proteus Entertainment

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Chicago Magazine, January 2008. "His name may not ring a bell among casual listeners, but those who value honest musical expression or a well-thought-out improvisation will find much to recommend in this solo recital by an unjustly under-the-radar local piano talent."
  2. ^ Neil Tesser at All About Jazz

External links[edit]