Marbin: ‘Strong Thing’ Definitely Understates the Power of New Album
(Soon? That’s today, folks!)
If you’ve ever seen Marbin live or heard their recordings, then you’ll agree their self-description is perfect: Two guys from Israel and two from Chicago playing really fast. Guitar, bass, drums, and a tiny saxophone.
We’d say: what you would get if you put Zappa, the Breckers, Mahavishnu, klezmers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Dolphy in a blender.
Marbin released their eighth studio album, Strong Thing, today (December 1); their self-title debut came out in 2011. Over that time, Danny Markovitch (soprano and tenor saxophones) and Dani Rabin (guitar) have worked with a variety of rhythm sections. They seem to have just the right pair for Strong Thing in Jon Nadel on bass, who has been with Marbin for some time, and debut drummer Everette Benton, Jr. All of the albums are available on Bandcamp.
They have a huge January tour coming up, with 22 dates, including nine in Texas alone. At the end of March, Martin set sail from Miami on two consecutive cruises: Cruise to the Edge and On the Blues Cruise. Some of the folks on those cruises will have NO idea what just hit them, we predict!
Saying that Marbin plays fusion is really just square one on a game board that goes in myriad directions. They launch immediately into some outrageous blues on the opening “Messy Mark.” Think Hendrix blues, and that is hardly an exaggeration. Rabin is a monster. Nadel and Benton get locked in and remain that way throughout this tremendous recording. Markovitch romps with his curved-bell soprano sax.
Next they fall directly into Brecker Brothers funk on “Spank Tank,” simply a glorious romp with a great guitar solo.
“Just a Little Bit” is a two-part song. It begins as a jazz ballad on sax; the tension builds from behind Benton’s drum kit, and Markovitch stretches out again. Nadel and cymbals into Part 2, a guitar feature with enormous bass lines and power. When Rabin and Markovitch play in unison or in harmony, the effect is positively mesmerizing.
“Alabama Sock Party” is that “21st-Century Schzoid Man” sort of thing, recorded at 33, played at 45. Because WOW. The soprano sax roars here.
Markovitch switches to tenor sax for “ItchyBun,” a killer rocker.
You want killer? The title track (in two parts) is just that. Bass and drums intro the song, at which point guitar and soprano descend into the maelstrom. This is so powerful. Part 1 is a guitar tour de force, Part 2 a romp by Markovitch on that “tiny saxophone.” As with may songs, there is that Israeli-klezmer lilt, although klezmer never sounded quite like this.
Finally, the two-part “Fisticuffs” closes Strong Thing. It could be the theme to a badass movie. Rabin goes stratospheric again, with the rhythm section rumbling underneath. Markovitch takes part 2.
This comes from Marbin’s Bandcamp page:
Dani Rabin explains: “Unlike other bands that record an album and then tour to promote it, we approach our albums more like comedians creating their specials. We tour with a set of new material for a year and when it comes time to record it, we just go to the studio and bang it out the same way we do in our live shows.” Markovitch expands on the subject: “I think it makes our shows more fun as well. Our fans know that every time they come to see us they’ll see a completely different set with new tunes and story time.” Rabin extrapolates: “Story time is when I tell the stories behind the titles of our songs. Each one of our songs is named after a crazy road story. It became a fan favorite and an integral part of our live shows.”
12/20 The Famous Mockingbird | Marion IA
12/21 The Lift | Dubuque IA
01/10 John Brown’s On the Square | Marion IL
01/11 Paducah Beer Works | Paducah KY
01/12 B-Side | Memphis TN
01/13 Duding Hall | Jackson MS
01/14 The Basin Music Hall | Baton Rouge LA
01/15 The Juke Joint | Ocean Springs MS
01/16 Cafe Istanbul | New Orleans LA
01/18 Notsuoh | Houston TX
01/19 Rear Window Listening Room | Ganado TX
01/20 El Hop Shop | Harlingen TX
01/21 Electric Lounge | Laredo TX
01/22 502 Bar | San Antonio TX
01/23 One-2-One Bar | Austin TX
01/24 The Sanctuary Music & Events Center | McKinney TX
01/25 Iron Horse Pub | Wichita Falls TX
01/26 Big Sandy Music Hall | Big Sandy TX
01/27 The Deli | Norman OK
01/28 The Smoke & Barrel Tavern | Fayetteville AR
01/29 Outland Ballroom | Springfield MO
01/30 Davey’s Uptown Rambler’s Club | Kansas City MO
01/31 Rose Music Hall | Columbia MO
02/01 BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups | St. Louis MO
03/13 The Shrunken Head | Columbus OH
03/17 Whirligig Stage | Greenville NC
03/27-04/01 Cruise to the Edge | Miami FL
04/01-08 On the Blues Cruise | Miami FL