Guitarist Dani Rabin can’t help but laugh when he tells stories about Marbin, the traveling rock, jazz, gospel and Israeli-folk fusion band that he and fellow Israeli Danny Markovitch, who plays saxophone, founded after they met in Israel in 2007. Rabin had recently graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and Markovitch had just completed his military service. Together, in 2008, they moved to Chicago seeking musical fame and fortune.
“There are so many outrageous stories,” said Rabin. Like the time when he and Markovitch “scammed” their way into (Pat Metheny Group drummer) Paul Wertico’s house. “We showed up with all our equipment and just convinced him to listen to us play.”
Wertico ended up hiring them to perform at his daughter’s bat mitzvah.
In 2010, the two Israelis joined forces with Chicago-based drummer Justyn Lawrence and bassist Jae Gentile who are both African-American.
“We’ve spent at least five hours a day driving in a van together for the past three years, and it’s usually hilarious. We’ve become very close,” said Rabin, 28.
He believes that having culturally diverse band members has made Marbin’s music unique. “It’s a new idiom.”
“Danny and I are heavily influenced by Israeli music from the 1960s to the 1980s. We’re more studied and less intuitive,” Rabin said. “Our people have been studying for 3,000 years. Justyn and Jae are Gospel musicians, and Gospel musicians don’t learn to read music, they do it all by ear. They groove like no one else. It’s a magical combo.”
So far, Marbin has released three CDs. The group’s most recent album, “Last Chapter of Dreaming,” was released this year. The band performs approximately 250 times a year all over the U.S. and although he loves Israel, Rabin said that Israel can’t offer them enough places to perform.
“I couldn’t do there what I do here. Israel is small, and the borders aren’t friendly,” he said.
On Thursday, Nov. 7, Marbin will be in Baltimore, performing two sets at Tir Na Nog in the Inner Harbor.
“I guarantee it will be great,” Rabin said. “We really play our hearts out, and it’s very high energy. We always make fans.”
For more information, visit Marbinmusic.com. For tickets, visit tirnanogbaltimore.com.