Sometimes he likes to call his music ?Fellini Jazz?.
He brings Mediterranean flair to the epicentre
of American jazz. He explores classical music and
influences from India and the Far East and combines
?folklore imaginaire? with free forms of expression.
Ratko Zjaca is a bridge-builder par excellence who
keeps on delving his pillars into new waters. IN+OUT
Records releases a portrait of this exceptional Croatian
guitarist which presents the different facets of his
career, with ten pieces of music spanning ten years and
featuring him in a variety of line-ups.
Zjaca studied classical music in Zagreb, then plunged
into modern idioms at Rotterdam and at the New
York University School of Music. He started to attend
master classes given by the likes of Pat Metheny, Mike
Stern, Bob Brookmeyer, Joe Pass and Jim Hall. The last
two in particular left their mark on his playing which
has always been orientated towards the USA. Among
the first musicians to appreciate his remarkable string
wizardry were bassist Reggie Workman and drummer
Al Foster. Ratko teamed up with these two in New York
in 2000 for an intimate and intense trio experience,
captured on the album ?A Day In Manhattan?. You
can listen to this early experimental period in two
outtakes: ?Out Of Body? starts with a sleep-walking,
elegant dance on the strings whereas ?Why We Are
Here? heats up with inspiring modern jazz phrases,
including some short solo work by Zjaca?s partners.
Six years later the Croatian can be found playing with
a quartet. Joining Zjaca and Al Foster is one of Ratko?s
east coast heroes, bassist John Patitucci, and a lyrical
counterpoint, saxophonist Stan Mitrovic. ?A most
enjoyable listening experience? ? that?s how John
Abercrombie described Ratko?s 1960 album, ?Crossing
The Border?, and he was certainly not the only
enthusiast. Two tracks from this album ??Welcome
To The Jungle? and ?Great Ocean Road? ? amaze the
listener in totally different ways, one with a dense,
aesthetic combination of modern idioms, and the
other with ballad-like, almost folksy and dreamy duo
between the Zjaca and Mitrovic. In a similar line-up
Zjaca presented himself on his IN+OUT d?but album,
?Continental Talk?, with Randy Brecker ? another of
Zjaca?s prominent heroes ? and Steve Gadd replacing
Foster. The recordings, made in 2008 and represented
here by ?The New Life? and ?The Game?, show an
increasingly inspired Zjaca producing a melodious flow
and even using a little Latin flair in the arrangements.
?This is my dream team?, Zjaca said about the quintet,
which he felt created an ?organic symbiosis? during
Eventually, in 2010, Zjaca returned to Europe. On ?The Way We Talk?, which came into being at the Klangstudio Leyh in Mannheim, we hear Ratko Zjaca side by side with his new studio and stage partner, Simone Zanchini, probably the most daring accordionist that Italy has produced. Completing the band is Macedonian bass player Martin Gjakonovski, and ? to cast the anchor in the New World ? drummer Adam Nussbaum joins. The musical language is, at the same time, more Mediterranean, thanks to Zanchini?s effective escapades ? and more experimental, bearing witness to stylistic boundary-crossing. This can be heard in the nervous and somewhat eccentric ?Kandinsky Night?, and also in the cantable, melancholy ?A Friend For Life?. This release is full of cinematic character, full of ?Fellini-esque traits indeed.
Last but not least, ?Now And Then? offers two previously unreleased tracks: In ?Katarina? you will hear a Rotterdam snapshot of 2003, in which Zjaca and Mitrovic mix minimalistic loop philosophy and vocal lines from the Balkans via multi-tracking.
And in the epic ?Then And Now? you will get an impression of the quality of Zjaca?s live playing. On this 11-minute track, he is accompanied by Miroslav Vitous (b), Bart Platteau (fl) and Ben Schr?der (dr), and he combines a lyrical, impressionistic tableau with complex rhythmic patterns.
?Now And Then?presents a thrilling overview of the sound aesthetics created by this extraordinary Croatian string wizard.
| Audio-CD / 17.50 € |
RATKO ZJACA > Now And Then < IOR CD 77110-2
Click on "Play" to listen!
Out Of Body
Why We Are Here
The New Life
Welcome To Our Jungle
Great Ocean Road
Then And Now
A Friend For Life
PRESS RELEASE ! Download als PDF zu dieser CD.
PRESS RELEASE ! Download the description of this CD as PDF-file.