June 21, 2024


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Interview with Dani Rabin: Ear players are not stupid people … Video

Jazz interview with guitarist Dani Rabin. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Dani Rabin: – I grew up in Israel, Rehovot to be exact. I got interested in playing after seeing Metallica live in the late 90’s. there were so many people wearing the same black shirts and I didn’t know that you have to dress up for metal concerts because it was my first one.

Half way through the show i decided that i’m in. The next day I bought shirts and started listening to metal. I loved the solos immediately and that led me on a path that started in hard rock went to shred then fusion and eventually jazz. just chasing the good solos while still liking the rock tone.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the your musical instrument? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the your musical instrument?

DR: – I had a very good teacher in high school, his name was Eyal Freeman. At age 17 I left Israel to study at Berklee and had a few teachers there that I wasn’t crazy about and one very good teacher. His name is David Tronzo and I think he’s still there. We would just talk about music but I learned a lot even even though we’d never play music or work on guitar directly.

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

DR: – Well the best way to answer that question is to listen to the Marbin albums in order guess. I don’t think that your sound or your uniqueness is something that you can work on consciously.

The way I define music weather its improvised or composed is organized sound.

Organizing means rhythm and answers the questions of where and when things happen. A student of music needs a good system whether it’s western notation or indian solkattu.

Sound breaks into two big pieces:

Pitch (frequency) which answer the question of what is being played.

Timbre (sound color or overtone structure) which answers the question of how something is played

Music is something (pitch) you put somewhere (rhythm) that you make sound somehow (timbre)

The system you should learn for pitch is Harmony since it deals with naming the combinations of the 12 available tones.

Timbre however is infinite and is harder to develop because it requires a sort of either natural ability or a type of intellect that is hyper aware of details and can understand what other people are doing to sound how they sound and emulate it personal style is the light at the end of that tunnel. It’s is a result of a long process and that’s why we respect it. you can hear a lifetime of refining and work in every stroke

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

DR: – I use the Indian Solkattu system for speaking the rhythms. With rhythm it starts in the mind. you have to have an awareness for when and where things happen in the music. if you hear a song and you can’t articulate the location of anything you are using a bad system.

if you hear a cool lick you need to be able to tell yourself it starts on bar 6 of a form on beat 3 it’s 16th notes and ends on beat 4 of the next bar for example. have a language for it.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

DR: – Functional harmony is a tiny tiny game. there are only 12 notes in western music and we are just all treading the same waters since the 16th century. I have an affinity to the harmonies of Russian folk, Israeli Music, Eastern European music, Gypsy jazz and Tango which are all very similar and very simple.


JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

DR: – The division between intellect and soul is a dangerous metaphor in itself and can promote ignorance and laziness.

What you are really asking is what the role of intuition is and the answer is that it’s a vast role but a person who doesn’t inch towards skill with their intellect will never develop the proper instinct you call soul.

Ear players are not stupid people they are simply people that use personal systems that they cannot articulate into words. the problem is that people that are inspired by a Wes Montgomery or a George Benson interpret that inability to put things to words as evidence against formal systems. Formal training in the language of harmony and rhythm is not the only way but for most it’s the only one that will work since they don’t have the rich musical upbringing that most ear players live through.

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

DR: – In every show we play there is a segment called storytime where I tell stories into the mike. Each of our song titles correlates with a crazy road story that happened to us! Arkansas jumper, escape from hippie mountain, electric zombieland… all true events and most are wild.

JBN.S: – Which collaboration have been the most important experiences for you?

DR: – Opening for Holdsworth for a month in 2012 was the moment I realized that a career playing fusion is completely possible for us.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

DR: – Don’t play covers. Study covers but don’t play them. Write your own songs that are good and people will listen.

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

DR: – lol let’s start small. First let’s understand what understanding the meaning of one word is like. How about the word boat… We both get it but that word meant something very different to me when I was 8 and it probably means something very different to you right now because I saw a lot of boats since then, you did too, so in that sense the word boat is a compartment that holds experience and expands as life progresses and we learn things.

All these words are ways to slice up reality, so when you say you understand a meaning I think it’s more like you observing a memory or an imagination.

I think that you are what you repeatedly do and if you do music all the time then in that sense you are music. Since when you say spirit you probably mean the most essential individual piece of yourself then sure that music compartment and that spirit compartment get integrated by life experience.

JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?

DR: – Well, my grandparents were in concentration camps in Europe and my parents fought in wars in Israel and I am playing guitar for drunks in the US so I really can’t complain. Whatever the future brings is fine. perspective is key.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

DR: – There are two type of people those who try to change the world and those who try to study it. I Belong to the latter type. I don’t think that way. reality is all there is and you can’t be resentful at any hand you are dealt. it’s up to you to figure it out.

JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?

DR: – Touring as much as possible.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?

DR: – Sure! we all just organize sound.

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

DR: – Leonard Cohen has always been my number one.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

DR: – I’d love to be in NYC in the 40’s to see what the jazz clubs were really like in the bebop era. I feel like that was quite the place in time.

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

DR: – If you were a Marbin fan that didn’t pay for some Marbin album’s where and when would you buy them?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. I have your CD.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Фото Dani Rabin.

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