Sun Jan 24 2010

You might see the term “ambient jazz” and think Kenny G or elevator music, but you’d be way off. Instead, imagine some sparse Brian Eno soundscapes with guitar and sax layered on top. For that extra kick, add some occasional Middle Eastern rhythmic flavor, and you’ve got the gist of Marbin. The Israeli duo (now based in Chicago) has crafted some gorgeous, mellow mood music on its self-titled debut. Saxophonist Danny Markovitch is a bebop player in essence, crisp and breathy, reminiscent of Phil Woods at times. Guitarist Dani Rabin mixes traditional jazz noodling with folky acoustic strumming, prickly classical fingerpicking and echoey dream sequences (à la Buckethead’s Colma). “Crystal Bells” puts the whole package together best, quietly insistent and hauntingly melodic, but with plenty of room for both soloists to stretch out. It’s all very laid back, but the great musicianship will keep you intrigued.

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