Title: Last Chapter of Dreaming
Label: Moonjune Records
Genre: nu jazz/fusion jazz
Review by Dawoud Kringle
Do you like music that is difficult to define, brings you to familiar places, takes you somewhere you couldn’t expect without losing its continuity? Marbin’s CD Last Chapter of Dreaming is just what you’re looking for.
Thee band consists of saxophonist Danny Markovitch, guitarist Dani Rabin, bassist Jae Gentile, and drummer Justyn Lawrence. Special guests that appear on the CD include Paul Wertico (drums), Steve Rodby (bass), Zohar Fresco (percussion), Jamey Haddad (percussion), Victor Garcia (trumpet), keyboardists Matt Nelson, Rob Clearfield, and Greg Spero; and vocalists Leslie Beukelman, Jubari Rayford, Abraha Rayford, Caleb Willitz, and Justin Ruff.
The opening track “Blue Fingers” starts with a pedestrian rock & roll drum beat, and the song teases the listener into thinking it’s a blues / rock song. But unexpected twists and turns, Steve Vai-ish guitar gymnastics, sprinkles of heavy metal, and occasional jazzy horn parts pull the listener away from the idea of standard listening.
As the music progresses, we get led through Klezmer flavored jazz saxophone excursions that yield to crunchy, whammy bar induced glissandi of guitar chops. Some of the songs make strange mood shifts; such as “Breaking the Cycle” which begins as a Led Zeppelin flavored riff and morphs into a moody quasi-metal ballad with horns and guitars weeping their way through complex chord changes. Or “Café de Nuit” where a poetic Spanish guitar trades melodies with a glockenspiel sounding keyboard, and yields itself to harmonic hairpin turns via the sax, and navigates an idyllic vocal and sax melodic path that leisurely leads us to an abrupt end in the road; leaving you wondering if you’d just woken from a dream. This is followed by “Redline”; a jagged guitar driven funk that paves the way for a horn section that forces you to want to dance.
Other noteworthy cuts include “And The Night Gave Nothing”, a “power ballad” that howls and laments above the chordal punctuations that drive its heroic search for redemption. Or “The Way to Riches” wherein the band’s considerable skills are proudly displayed with a confidence that reflects worldly ambition. Or “Last Days of August” a stark and sad piece that the guitar uses a simple piano pulse as its canvas, before being taken over by the saxophone; with the drums edging their way in from the shadows to offer commentary on the poetry offered by the lead instruments.
The whole CD is filled with such examples; there is never a dull moment, and the band never lingers on any single musical form or assimilated genre long enough to allow the music to stagnate.
The band has serious skills, and all the songs are imaginatively composed and arranged, and flawlessly performed. The CD’s production is consistent throughout; this despite having been recorded in several different studios throughout the US and Israel. Rabin’s guitar playing is marvelous; always interesting, always pushing the limits without becoming overbearing. Markovich is a funky saxophonist whose considerable jazz chops can not seem to cover his instinctive Klezmer heart. There are no lyrics; all the vocals are treated as instrumental parts. The rhythm section musicians are all top notch.
All in all, Last Chapter of Dreaming is an interesting and thought provoking collection of excellent music.
Marbin has launched a kickstarter in order to record a live album. For more details and to support, please visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1604249165/marbins-live-album