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Marbin: Israeli Jazz

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Marbin's name and music come from the combined visions of saxophonist Danny Markovitch and guitarist Dani Rabin. Dani was born in California but grew up in Israel, where he met Markovitch and first formed Marbin as a duo in 2007.

"Both Danny and I grew up in Israel listening to Israeli music, but we also grew up listening to jazz, rock, folk and blues," Rabin explains. "We felt it's appropriate to name the album Israeli Jazz because it gives a more whole and nuanced look to music that undeniably has Israeli roots, but at the same time is drawing from other traditions and fuses them into a coherent vision."

There's no doubt magic in their combination. With a powerhouse rhythm section (bassist Jon Nadel and drummer Blake Jiracek) keeping solid time, the two primary voices in Marbin play more like one. In more than a few places in their Israeli Jazz, you cannot tell their voices apart.

"The Old Ways" sound exciting and new in Marbin's eight hands: Dancing saxophone and drums call the tribe to order, then electric guitar chords grow more forceful and loud until a blues-rock-jazz guitar jam erupts, Robin Trower meets Jimi Hendrix meets Duane Allman burnt into a single sound in Rabin's Israeli crucible. "Swamp House" opens as an unaccompanied electric guitar blues, a mournful and solitary moan from a wetlands shack in the deep American South. Bass and drums, and then the saxophone, tumble and dance into the arrangement to raise both its tempo and spirit.

Two back-to-back offerings suggest cocktail hour: "Moscow Mule" displays a distinctly Russian saxophone sound and melody which Rabin shreds like a garment; "Pirate Punch" doubles up its heady pleasures with a spacious moody blues that eventually erupts into a communal jam that's simultaneously world, rock, blues, and jazz music. And again, when Rabin and Markovitch play together, your ears cannot tell them apart.

"To us, jazz is about the spirit of the music. At the heart of our music there are always improvised solos over harmony and form," Markovitch muses. "Good jazz always has a delicate balance between chaos, the solos, and order, the compositions/arrangements, and that's the line we tread on while allowing ourselves to explore all the other aspects of music."

Track Listing: The Old Ways; Swamp House; Arkansas Jumper; Moscow Mule; Pirate Punch; Magic Burro; Israeli Jazz.

Personnel: Dani Rabin: guitar; Danny Markovitch: saxophones; Jon Nadel: bass; Blake Jiracek: drums.

Title: Israeli Jazz | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced

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