CD Review : Marbin – Breaking the Cycle

Marbin – Breaking the Cycle.
(MoonJune Records MJR038. CD Review by Chris Parker

Marbin is a name derived from the band’s core duo – saxophonist Danny Markovitch and guitarist Dani Rabin – and this is their second album, the line-up expanded to include bassist Steve Rodby and drummer Paul Wertico. They’re basically a jazz-rock outfit, though their time-signatures are not as devilishly tricksy as those often associated with this subgenre; they favour open, airy, accessible – even downright hummable – themes that have accommodating chord sequences providing the musical equivalent of open goals for the band’s soloists.
The opening track, ‘Loopy’, is an arresting, anthemic piece, skilfully propelled by the ever resourceful Wertico (the album is notable throughout for the extraordinary array of percussion sounds provided both by him and guests Jamey Haddad and Makaya McCraven ) and decorated by eloquent saxophone and hard-hitting guitar solos, but thereafter, the material (all written by Markovitch and Rabin) is a little softer, deploying acoustic-guitar mellifluousness to underpin insinuating soprano sax statements, or conjuring up an almost lullaby-like atmosphere (as on the gorgeous ‘Mom’s Song’, which also features subtle vocal embellishments from Matt Davidson and Leslie Beukelman), or an evocative, filmic feel (‘Bar Stomp’).

Concluding with an almost minstrel-like contribution from guest lyricist/vocalist Daniel White, this is tasteful, elegant but often surprisingly gutsy music, impeccably performed – those who like their rock music lovingly burnished to a fine shine will find much to admire in its eleven absorbing tracks.

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