Marbin - The Third Set

(CD 2014, 65:34, Moonjune MJR065)

The tracks:
  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)

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Marbin originally started as a duo, when guitarist Dani Rabi, who just finished the Berklee College of Music met fellow Israeli sax player Danny Markovitsch. Since 2008, the duo finds its home in the USA and after changes in the line-up regarding bass player and drummer, the band now releases an album with bass player Jae Gentle and drummer Justyn Lawrence, who also played on the previous album. After three releases; Marbin (2008), Breaking The Cycle (2011) and The Last Chapter Of Dreaming (2013), Marbin singed to Moonjune Records to release their latest effort; The Third Set, which represents live recordings, done early in 2013.

The live album The Third Set really shows how impressive both the guitarist and sax players are. It might sound a bit weird, but basically, it doesn't really matter what rhythm section these guys work with as they definitely are the ones that will take all the attention. The rhythm section does a tremendous job, laying down massive grooves and playing impressive, but still the main attraction are the two Dani's. Listen to the song Crystal Bells, which shows guitarist Dani Rabi as the perfect blend of Jeff Beck's phrasings and bends and Stevie Ray Vaughan's bluesy style of playing. I guess this is one of the best players I have heard so far, when it comes to the style they play. Improvisations on guitar as well as on sax make sure this live release surely will find its way to the jazz rock fusion lover, as well as to the more blues orientated music fan. During a song like Culture, the band honours their Israeli heritage by imbedding parts of a traditional sound in their music. This intro grows into one of the most intriguing compositions on the album, where funky rhythms go hand in hand with virtuoso playing. Also impressive is the song Splaw, which has a nice SRV sounding beginning where the sax then takes over into a power house composition. By mentioning these compositions I need to mention the two longest songs on the albums as well, for these are way too impressive not to be mentioned in this review; kudos for Redline and Volta. To be honest, when I listen to this album, I notice that sax player Danny Markovitsch has a nice sound and he plays fantastic, but he does get slightly over classed by the tremendous effort of Dani Rabi on the guitar. His playing is flawless, especially his Stevie Ray Vaughan style blues guitar, his solos are inspired and sound is just perfect.

Too bad I was not aware of previous albums by this tremendous band. The mix of guitar and sax is not new, when it comes to jazz rock, but when you hear these guys you will notice how innovative this band is and perhaps even more, how it is to experience Marbin live. I think I have found a new kind of guitar hero while listening to this album. Fasten your seatbelts. You will be blown away by their music!

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)

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