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Marbin - 2014 - "The Third Set"

(65:30, Moonjune Records)


1.  Special Olympics 5:13
2.  The Depot 6:33
3.  Crystal Bells 6:46
4.  Redline 8:28
5.  Culture 7:05
6.  Vanthrax 5:40
7.  Rabak 8:21
8.  Splaw 6:08
9.  Northern Odyssey 3:11
10. Volta 8:05


Dani Rabin  guitars 
Danny Markovitch  saxophone 
Justyn Lawrence  drums 
Jae Gentile  bass 

Prolusion. The US based band MARBIN was formed in 2007 by Danny Markovitch and Dani Rabin, and they released their debut album two years later. Since then Marbin has become firmly established as a live band, with hundreds of concerts all over the United States under their belt. They were also signed to Moonjune Records a few years back, and so far they have released two more studio albums on that label. "The Third Set" is their fourth full length production, and was released through Moonjune Records in the fall of 2014.

Analysis. As the name of this CD implies, "The Third Set" is a live album. One cleverly assembled I might add, as the ten tracks here are recordings from ten different concerts held in th spring of 2013. Which might seem odd to some, but for everyone that attended any of these ten concerts this CD should be a much more interesting one due to that than if this CD had been featuring footage from one specific concert. Live albums are hard to sell from what I understand, and opting to assemble it in this manner should optimize the buying audience presumably. If it works, the band or label will have to reveal at some point, but I applaud this approach to think somewhat outside of the box as far as live productions are concerned. Not that this approach is a novelty, it has been done by many before, but it's not the choice of the majority to go for this solution. As far as live performances go, Marbin showcases that they are an extremely tight live band. That's what you get when you choose to play live just about as often as you get the chance I guess, that the musicians understand each other and cooperate with one another more and more as a cohesive unit with an understanding of each other that might seem magical at times. This is one of the tightest live performances I have come across so far in my life, and if the band is only half as entertaining to watch as they are to listen to seeing them live in concert must be quite the experience. Musically they come across as a somewhat gritty band here. The general style is rough and unpolished, the guitar in particular emphasizes a sound and expression more common with blues based hard rock than anything else, even with some shredding thrown in for good measure. As far as comparisons go, for the riffs and ordinary guitar soloing, names like Robin Trower and Jimi Hendrix are sure to be name-dropped, but with added shred runs that are firmly metal based and oriented in form and execution. A tight, fireworks rhythm section supports the guitar antics, and with plenty of ear candy provided by the saxophone of Danny Markovich too that merits a mention as well. There's room for delicate saxophone soloing here too, and those who enjoy to listen to the dynamics of the saxophone and guitar in dual soloing escapades will get plenty of that as well. Both in careful, delicate constellations and in hectic, intense sequences that appear to orient themselves out from a shredding based foundation. In terms of overall style these live recordings are, to put it that way, a bit all over the place. Blues based hard rock has been mentioned, shredding as well. Still, the majority of the material is arguably of a jazz rock orientation, fairly often with a high degree of blues and hard rock due to the guitars, but with jazz oriented rhythms, bassline and sax. There's also a fair share of material here featuring a gritty, blues sounding guitar played in a jazz or jazz rock oriented style, using elements from both types of music to create a blend. Stylistic blends of this kind appear to be something of a specialty for Marbin, at least on the live performances these tracks have been pulled from, and it is kind of fascinating to listen to an instrumental live band playing what may superficially sound like a simple, thumping pub style blues based hard rock affair but with details aplenty lurking beneath the gritty dominant coating that tells the tale of a compositions rather more complex in construction and not at all as simple or blues based as one might superficially get the impression of.

Conclusion. Marbin, as they come across on "The Third Set", appears to be a band that thrives on mixing elements from many different styles into their very own and specific take on jazz rock and jazz fusion. The sound is generally a gritty one, with plenty of details borrowed from traditional blues based hard rock, but generally explored within a jazz or jazz rock oriented framework. As Marbin comes across as an extremely tight live band, they manage to pull of their blend of styles in an excellent manner, and while they may get to be a tad too elongated or too chaotic at times they maintain a high level of interest throughout. A strong live album by a strong live band, and a production that merits a check by those who enjoy high quality instrumental jazz rock that blends in a fair amount of blues and hard rock, with a touch of metal as the icing on the cake.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 8, 2014
The Rating Room

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