Keyboardist Bob Marbach's debut EP release, Out At Night, is a trio set featuring Jon Mele on drums and Toshi Someya on bass. The program features four original compositions by Marbach along with a cover of Sonny Rollins' "Pent Up House. The album finds the trio locked in series of dark, soulful grooves.
Marbach sticks primarily to electric piano and organ, giving the performances a pleasing pulse. Those electric clusters of notes serve to modernize and inject a measure of soul into the casual, strutting lope of "Walking In Place. Of course, a standard acoustic piano could give you all the same notes, but the gist of the whole enterprise would be lost.
If the electronics help in some places, they inevitably detract in others. "Ocean Parkway features a lovely melody that is slightly curdled by the addition of some synthesized strings. The slight, hollow sound distracts the listener from the delicacy of Mele and Someya's playing. The same can be said for some of the futuristic sounding effects on "2002 Tango. Instead of paying attention to the meat of the performance, you find yourself pulled away and asking, "what was that sound?
However, aside from some reservations about the instrumentation, there is a lot of fine, intriguing playing on Out At Night. I look forward to future efforts, with the hope that the trio can pare down its sound to the more minimalist code that is featured on the album's more successful tracks.
Track Listing: Out At Night: Ocean Parkway; Walking In Place; 2002 Tango; Pent Up House
Personnel: Bob Marbach-keyboards; Jon Mele-drums; Toshi Someya-bass