Sunday, February 3, 2013

CDs of Note - Short Takes

Taking a closer look at new CDs from three contemporary jazz bands: Myriad3, Marbin and the Hristo Vitchev Quartet.

Myriad3, Tell (Alma)
If you’re a fan of the jazz-on-the-edge sounds of E.S.T. or The Bad Plus, this one from the Toronto-based trio Myriad3 will be right up your alley. As composers and players, pianist Chris Donnelly, bassist Dan Fortin and drummer Ernesto Cervini make quite the team of sonic adventurers. The lone cover here is the band’s take on Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues,” which gets an intense and playful workout – rollicking at times, digging into the subtle side of swing at others. Other gems:  their deep exploration of Fortin’s composition “Tell” and Donnelly’s “Drifters.” “Mr. Awkward” is a delightful tune with Monkish twists.

Hristo Vitchev Quartet, Familiar Fields (First Orbit Sounds)
Bulgarian-born jazz guitar modernist Hristo Vitchev has a gem of a band, and as a result, this is a gem of a sophomore CD for his working and touring quartet. The San Francisco Bay area-band includes pianist Weber Iago, bassist Dan Robbins and drummer Mike Shannon. Favorites: “The Prophet’s Daughter,” the ballad “They Are No More” (a showcase for Iago), the propulsive “The Fifth Season” and “Willing to Live.” Vitchev’s impressionistic compositions paint sound pictures for us, and all four players deliver the goods mightily.

Marbin, Last Chapter of Dreaming (MoonJune)

Chicago-based Marbin is an eclectic contemporary jazz band with a fascinating sound, in which jazz meets rock and world music. Marbin’s name derives from the first three letters and last three letters of the names of its co-leaders: soprano saxophonist Danny Markovitch and guitarist Dani Rabin. The quartet mixes it up in its originals – from fast and frantic to slow and dreamy. The quartet is rounded out by drummer Justyn Lawrence and bassist Jae Gentile. Special guests on various tracks include ex-Pat Metheny drummer Paul Wertico, Metheny bassist Steve Rodby, and percussionist Jamey Haddad. Favorite tracks on this second release from Marbin: “CafĂ© de Nuit,” “The Ballad of Daniel White,” “Purple Fiddle” and “Last Chapter of Dreaming.”


  1. Justyn Lawrence (Marbin) is a BEAST!

  2. MARBIN! MARBIN! MARBIN! I saw them in Cookeville, TN and they're the most awesome band I've seen live!

  3. I saw Marbin in Louisville, amazing band, and really nice guys

  4. Marbin is my favorite band under fifty LOL!

  5. There are a lot of different styles that emerge from these guys, but it is all flowing and effortless. Great live band!