Thursday, June 6, 2013

How to describe Marbin? It's taken a while to decide

My apologies go out to Dani Rabin.

From out of the blue, Dani sent me a private message several weeks ago on a progressive music discussion web site we're both members of, asking me to check out a YouTube video with a song from his group, Marbin, from the Chicago-based group's latest album, "Last Chapter of Dreaming."

Dani Rabin and Danny Markovitch, the foundation of Marbin.
The song was "Volta."  It started out in quiet, stirring fashion.  Highly enjoyable, featuring mellow chords from Rabin on guitar and some engaging saxophone playing from Danny Markovitch.  After that nearly minute-long intro to this band I'd never heard of before, the song broke into a stronger electric sound from Rabin while "easing" into a much more complex time signature punctuated by spot-on exchanges between Rabin and Markovitch, as well as some fabulous time-keeping from drummer Justyn Lawrence and bassist Jae Gentile -- not an easy task by any means when you listen to the kind of music they're playing.

It was my very first exposure to Marbin.  I was highly impressed.  No, more than that -- I was hooked.  I promised Dani that I'd give them some exposure in my music blog, but I wanted to give their music a better listen for a decent treatment.

Since first hearing from Dani in early May, I've watched their other YouTube videos, checked out their web page, hooked up with their Facebook page, even created a Marbin station for myself on Pandora.

I'm still trying to figure out how to adequately describe the kind of music Marbin plays.  Instrumental?  Absolutely, all the way.  Progressive?  Ditto.  Fusion?  Yeah, there's some of that.  It definitely rocks.  There's a "world" feel to it as well.  It's hard to pin these guys down on style, and maybe there's really no need to try.  It deserves just sitting back and enjoying.

There was one day while I was at work, I had all my Pandora stations in shuffle mode as I focused on a tedious task.  I wasn't paying extremely close attention to the artists playing the songs because I knew who a lot of them were, and if I was particularly captured by something that I heard I'd double-check to see who it was.  On one tune, I thought it sounded a lot like Pat Metheny.  It turned out to be Marbin.  Which wouldn't be surprising, since an important part of Marbin's history includes playing with perhaps Metheny's best-known rhythm section in drummer Paul Wertico and bassist Steve Rodby.

There are times when I listen to the talent of Markovitch on the sax, and I think, "Kenny G on steroids after getting some lessons on how to play truly complex music."

There are times when -- if he's not playing something reminiscent of Metheny -- Rabin can do something with a whammy bar on his guitar that reminds me of some of the cooler tricks practiced by Jeff Beck ... high praise, indeed.  Yet Rabin has his own distinct style.

If you check out Marbin's YouTube channel, you'll see Rabin give tips on how to make a living playing live music out on the road.  Rabin took time out from an extremely busy touring schedule recently to get married.  Otherwise, they're playing around 300 shows a year across the country.

And who are some of the musicians they've been touring with in the past?  Fusion folks like Scott Henderson, Mike Clark, and Jeff Berlin, not to mention an Allan Holdsworth trio with Yellowjackets’ bassist Jimmy Haslip and monster drummer Virgil Donati.

Marbin has an impressive resume.  But I still have to apologize to Dani Rabin for taking so long to find the kind of words to best describe them here.  Bottom line:  I'm hooked.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that quick run at the beginning is very Mahavishnu-y, isn't it?