If your taste runs to the quiet and introspective in music, you probably won’t find much to satisfy in the new album from Marbin, The Third Set. There are some quiet moments, but they are literally moments in a live set that runs an hour and six minutes. Marbin, a quartet fronted by saxophonist Danny Markovitch and guitarist Dani Rabin, aims for warp speed rock-oriented jazz, and if The Third Set is any indication, they hit the mark. Most of what they do would put to shame a good many big name rock bands. So if you’re into raw musical passion, this is an album you’ll want to hear; this is hard rocking jazz played by musicians with real chops.
Again, in the 10 original tracks on the album, there are moments of tranquility. Tunes like “Crystal Bells” and “Volta” have the band working in a softer mode, softer in the context of the high-powered dynamo that propels the bulk of the release. If this is Marbin’s idea of soft, soft takes on a new meaning. All you need to hear is Rabin’s guitar work in “Crystal Bells.” And when they follow that with a blazing decoding of the swing sound in “Redline,” it is clear that this is not a band looking to soften its image. Propelled by a hard-driving rhythm section—Justyn Lawrence on drums and Jae Gentile on bass—both Rabin and Markovitch deliver densely devastating killer solos.
Rabin and Markovitch, now working out of Chicago, are originally from Israel, and you can hear some of that heritage in a tune like “Culture,” where the melodic lines and even some of the improvisations have something of an ethnic feel. But certainly the songs that most clearly define the sound the band is going for are rapid fire scorchers like “Special Olympics,” which opens the set and the raucous dialogue between the soprano sax and guitar in “The Depot,” which follows.
By the way, for anyone wondering, the band’s name comes from the combination of the first syllable in Markovitch and the last syllable in Rabin. If you like your jazz sizzling, it’s a name you need to remember.
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