Exposé Online banner

Marbin — The Third Set
(Moonjune MJR065, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-10-17

The Third Set Cover artBack in the 70s, bands usually released live albums as a stopgap between studio albums to keep fans appeased (or their name in the press), or as kind of "greatest hits" packages, or to fulfill contractual obligations. The fidelity of the recordings could be pretty dodgy, and bands only rarely presented new material on live albums. Of course there are exceptions, but that was the general rule in the rock world. In jazz, the live album was essentially the standard, whether recorded in a studio or in a venue with an audience: you could take as given that all the musicians played the music together at the same time in the same room (or maybe in nearby isolation booths). The advent of multitrack recording, with all the possibilities for overdubbing and editing, shifted the standard for almost all rock music and much of recorded jazz away from that ideal, and now the increased quality of portable recording gear has made fidelity less of a problem. So it's no big deal that Marbin chose to release a live recording for their third Moonjune album. They've never gone in for elaborate studio constructions, so stripping the music down to what can be heard at any of their multitudinous shows doesn't change anything fundamentally. You get Dani Rabin's scorching guitar, Danny Markovitch's nimble sax, and the solid backing of the bassist and drummer (Jae Gentile and Justyn Lawrence here). It's a little more raw than what we heard on Last Chapter of Dreaming, which works in their favor — these guys wail! Only three of the ten tracks have appeared on studio albums, but with the quality of these performances, the new material can stand on its own merit as the definitive versions, without a studio recording needed. This is flashy fusion along the lines of Colosseum II, and I'm often reminded of Jeff Beck's fusion material from the Wired era. The occasional show-offy moments are excused by the sheer exuberance of the playing and the inventiveness of the compositions. When you look at the credits of most live albums, you might see venues like NEARfest or Orion Studios or even Madison Square Garden; Marbin keeps it humble with places like Mohoney's in Cedar Rapids and Trouser Mouse in Blue Springs, Missouri. But the humbleness of the setting doesn't diminish the sound of the recording or the fire of the playing.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Marbin

Latest news

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ded Ringer - Ded Ahead – Life in the past lane. Call it retro, but rock music like this just isn't made anymore. On their fifth full-length disc this Bay Area trio dishes it up with enough credibility and authenticity to...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues