Mr. Marblesz: Mr. Marblesz (2010)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Mr. Marblesz, a band with a twist in its name and its music, has its roots in Toronto, Canada. The music finds a home in jazz, but branches out into several genres with finesse and a decided sense of fun, which raises it to an appreciable level.
Guitarist/vocalist Tom Juhas shows flair as a composer, as he envelops several styles without sacrificing cohesion or logic. With the structure undergoing unexpected changes, interest never stops percolating. At the same time, he can create a transcendent mood without drinking from other streams, as the ballad "The End Times" makes manifestly clear.
The first hint that this is going to be remarkable comes with the melody which captivates instantly, as it is essayed by guitar and Dafydd Hughes' piano. Tyler Emond's arco bass deepens the pitch and, as the tune unfolds, the warmth is becoming. The arrangement keeps the instrumentation down to the basics, even as the bass sings and the drums open an airy vent, before Hughes' Farfisa adds a dramatic quotient. This is mesmerizing music.
Several strands are interwoven on "I2I4NI," where a blustery intro shades the tune's thematic permutations. The pulse dips and soars, but the energy level churns, even as space vents its way into the linearity. Chris Gale blows up a storm on the tenor saxophone firmly in the furrow of jazz harmony that Juhas extends on guitar. His playing is neat and clean, his notes cutting in crisply. The intensity of the band is palpably passionate, and infuses a charged and lively atmosphere.
"Heedless Congruence" has a cinematic expanse, into which Juhas packs so many elements that it could well have gone askance, were it not for the band's ability to conceptualize and turn it into a glowing whole. The velvet sheen of Hughes' Farfisa is jackknifed as the beat jumps into high gear. From then on the tempo is in continuous turmoil bestride a Latin melody, a reel, and some hard-driving jazz with never a dull moment.
Mr. Marblesz make music that is inspired and relevant, to which this CD is fine testament.
Track Listing: The World's End/Lava Surfing; I2I4NI; The End Times; Heedless Congruence; The Unconquered Sun Sacrifices; Cuts; I Will Never Love You; Slut Garden/Stolen Flowers.
Personnel: Tom Juhas: guitars, vox; Sly Juhas: drums; Chris Gale: tenor saxophone; Tyler Emond: acoustic and electric bass; Dafydd Hughes: Farfisa organ, piano; Friendly Rich: vocals (8); Tanya Charles: 1st violin; Maia Broido: 2nd violin; Jennifer Moersch: 3rd violin.
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Hot Jazz