Fort Wayne has become a second creative home for Chicago-based jazz rock band Marbin. After laying down a COVID-era live album at Sweetwater Studios last year, the band returns to the area to play the Club Room at the Clyde next week.
The two permanent members of Marbin are guitarist Dani Rabin and saxophonist Danny Markovitch who have known each other since they were youngsters growing up in Israel.
They were apart for a time when Markovitch joined the Israel Defense Forces and Rabin moved to Boston to study at the Berklee School of Music. But they eventually joined forces again, forming Marbin in 2011.
Bassist Jon Nadel has been with the band for five years and drummer Everette Benton Jr. for three years.
Marbin, a name which combines the last names of Markovitch and Rabin, first tried their luck at local clubs in Chicago.
“In the beginning we tried playing locally,” Rabin said. “I think there’s a myth that you start out trying to build a local following then move beyond that, but that wasn’t adding up to anything.
“We started hitting the road full force after our second album. We had a van, and we’d be driving around for 250 club shows in a year. It would be difficult now, but we were younger back then and had a blast. We’d test stuff out and play on a stage for four or five years, and the band just kept getting better and better. Then when we started making videos, we got a lot more exposure.”
They developed a routine for making music, one which served them well until recent events threw things into disarray.
“Before COVID we’d write music then go out to perform it,” Rabin said. “We’d have a batch of songs, maybe an hour or 90 minutes, tour a lot for about a year, then we’d go into the studio.
“That’s a big difference between jazz bands and rock bands. Rock bands go into the studio and write music because they’re looking for freshness. We go in wanting to play something we do well. It’s just a different approach to the music. Before COVID we had a whole list of songs we were going to play, and that threw a monkey wrench into all of that. So now we just pick up where we left off.”
It’s the Improvisation
Rabin said that what drew him and Markovitch to jazz is the improvisation, which provides an interesting counterpoint to the recording approach of precision.
But it’s the ability to start with one thing and take it different directions on stage that appeals to Marbin.
“It’s like interior design,” Rabin said. “It’s not necessarily about knocking down walls, but it’s moving a chair in a room because it looks nice here in that sunlight.”
When COVID put an end to their summer tour last year, they found themselves, for the first time in their history, with a long down time ahead of them. Marbin felt the itch to perform and opted to come to Fort Wayne to do so, making a second live album called Shreddin’ at Sweetwater.
Things to Do in Fort Wayne
Aside from visiting Fort Wayne to play at the Club Room at the Clyde, the band will again return to record music and produce a master class at Sweetwater. As unsettling as the last year has been, Marbin feels the momentum shifting back into a productive direction.
“This is just the beginning for us,” Rabin said. “Weird doesn’t begin to describe what this last year was like. It was almost Orwellian. But we already have festivals booked, and it feels like things are coming back.”