Marbin: Last Chapter of Dreaming (2013)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Even on their eponymous debut Marbin's style was far from being derivative but with Last Chapter of Dreaming their third release in as many years they have matured and found their singular artistic voice. In a way this album expands on the themes and motifs expressed on their second Breaking the Cycle but the ideas are crystalized, excesses trimmed and the whole more cohesive.
The cinematic ambience remains, imbued with poetry and subtle humor. "Breaking The Cycle" for instance opens with guitarist Marbin's charged and electrified swells of sound over drummers Paul Wertico and Marbin's fiery beats. Trumpeter Victor Garcia's mellow tone and unhurried and long notes together with wordless chorus tint the expectant mood with nostalgic hues and a Latin touch. Saxophonist Marbin's soprano embellishes the melody with eastern sensibilities bringing a unique touch to a tune that can easily serve as a soundtrack for a Western set in an alternate and fantastical reality.
The two drummers' galloping rumble forms the undercurrent of the elegiac "The Ballad of Daniel White." Over these percolating rhythms Markovitch weaves intricate and lilting poetry. Rabin's wistful guitar is equally lyrical on the undulating "And the Night Gave Nothing." His melancholic solo is reminiscent of a forlorn lover's lament.
Rabin's elegant acoustic strums complement singer Leslie Beukelman's haunting voice on the sublime and playful "Café De Nuit." Elsewhere his blistering R&B-esque chords cook through the rousing swing of the retro "Redline" while Markovitch's tight and intelligent improvisation is replete with soulful swagger.
The latter's agile soprano dances with Levantine warmth and mellifluousity over "Inner Monologue" a piece with a strong Mediterranean feel. This node to Middle Eastern harmonies is also heard on "The Way to Riches" as percussionists Jamey Haddad and Zohar Fresco enhance the ethnic feel with their colorful frame drums and other regional timpani.
With this dramatic disc, Markovitch and Rabin have achieved a personal best. Bringing together various influences and genres they have created an opus of true fusion that solidifies their sui generis vision and stands as a testament of musical universality.
Track Listing: Blue Fingers; Inner Monologue; Breaking the Cycle; On The Square; Cafe Du Nuit; Redline; Volta; The Ballad of David White; Down Goes The Way; The Way to Riches; And The Night Gave Nothing; Purple Fiddle; Last Days of August; Last Chapter of Dreaming.
Personnel: Danny Markovitch: saxophone, keyboards; Dani Rabin: guitars; Justyn Lawrence: drums; Paul Wertico: drums; Jae Gentile: bass; Steve Rodby: bass; Jamey Haddad: percussion; Zohar Fresco: percussion;
Leslie Beukelman: vocals; Jubari Rayford: vocals; Abraha Rayford: vocals;
Caleb Willitz: vocals; Justin Ruff: vocals; Matt Nelson: keyboards; Rob Clearfield: keyboards; Greg Spero: keyboards; Victor
Record Label: Moonjune Records
Style: Modern Jazz