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(43:13, Moonjune Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Loopy 5:57 2. A Serious Man 3:47 3. Mom's Song 2:03 4. Bar Stomp 3:05 5. Outdoor Revolution 3:07 6. Western Sky 2:10 7. Burning Match 5:10 8. Claire's Indigo 2:12 9. Snufkin 3:47 10. The Old Silhouette 4:11 11. Winds of Grace 8:39 LINEUP: Danny Markovitch – sax Dani Rabin – guitars Steve Rodby – bass Makay McCraven – drums Jamey Haddad – percussion Paul Wertico – percussion With: Danile White – vocals Matt Davidson – vocalizations Leslie Beukelman – vocalizations
Prolusion. Founded by saxophonist Danny Markovitch and guitarist Dani Rabin, MARBIN is a modern US outfit with two albums to its credit so far. “Breaking the Cycle” is a follow-up to its 2009 self-titled debut (which I haven’t heard, as it was sent to one of my former workmates on the site, who lives in the States), listing six musicians as the band’s members. Finally, I must note that this review might be some shorter as well as less detailed than those I normally do when exploring releases by ‘profound’ labels.
Analysis. Of the eleven tracks presented, disc opener Loopy is the only progressively successful moment on the album, relying on all of the players, almost equally. The music is orthodox Jazz Rock with several different thematic storylines, two of which (with the saxophonist, guitarist and – quite remarkably – bassist Steve Rodby at their fore) are simply outstanding, and only the one with a drum solo seems to be not really necessary. Another energetically saturated piece, Bar Stomp, is a standout in its own way. Combining hard-rock and jazz-fusion architectures in its construction, it almost totally relies on Rabin’s guitar, whilst otherwise the man normally shares the main soloing field with Markovitch. The rest of the album appears as a collection of laidback pieces with a certain relaxing as well as danceable quality to them. (Similar music is often used in clubs that are destined for the meetings of lonely people in their 40s and beyond.) What has been said doesn’t mean that the implying tracks are weak – they just aren’t progressive in the traditional sense of the term. On the other hand, all of them without exception are tasty and full of refined melodies, a few of those even prog-tinged. For some time I was not sure how to define this music. At least in places, it has a distinct ambient feeling; however, the band’s instrumentation made me refuse regarding Jazz Ambient as one of its stylistic vehicles. In the end, I came to a conclusion that jazz-tinged-to-jazz-inspired New Age (with bits of somewhat old-fashioned orchestral jazz in some cases) will probably be the most adequate idiom in this respect. It is also not too easy to tell the differences between the pieces, as all of them are rather uniform compositionally, sounding for the most part like benefit performances for both Rabin and Markovitch. It is probably worth mentioning that, while all of them involve a rhythm section, on A Serious Man, Outdoor Revolution, Burning Match and The Old Silhouette it is used throughout, on Claire's Indigo and Snufkin almost so, whilst on Mom's Song, Western Sky and Winds of Grace only in places, if not occasionally. (To my way of thinking, Snufkin a bit suffers from a wild sax solo over an introspective backdrop: while the solo itself is great, it somewhat destroys the beautiful, serene aura of the piece.) The first two of the latter three items both feature female vocalizations, whereas the last one is the sole track with a lyrical content here. Sung by a male, this long (8:39) tune is by and large a traditional (plus overextended within its vocal section) ballad, with a new-age flavor only distinct within its instrumental interludes. What also might be interesting is that on four of the album’s first five tracks Dani only played electric guitars, but as soon as its second half began, he has completely switched over to acoustic ones, whose parts are more often symphonic than jazzy in appearance.
Conclusion. As the review turned out to be more expressive than I expected before writing it (at least I hope so), I will be brief here. Most of this release is quiet, fairly pleasing, never obtrusive music that doesn’t need any special attention to be comprehended – hardly something for a prog lover’s habitual leisure, but a perfect ‘fellow traveler’ for a long-distance driver.
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