July 21, 2024


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CD review: Ratko Zjaca & Nocturnal Four – Light In The World 2020: Video, CD cover

The fact that drummers are no longer perceived as unimportant band members is likely to have become common knowledge at the latest in the 21st century.

In the meantime, they are band leaders as well as compose, arrange and structure music according to their taste and in many cases pull all the strings. Anyone who has always claimed that the women and men at the back of the set are actually the main protagonists or rather the heart of a combo is not wrong with that. “For me as a guitarist, there is no musician more important in a band than a drummer,” Ratko Zjaca admitted openly and frankly. “I can base my playing on his drumming, he drives everyone, regulates the dynamics, is responsible for the sound, a perfect groove – and ultimately for me playing more than just notes. The principle is very simple. If the drummer does his job well, then the others are good too.”

Ratko Zjaca is an award winning guitarist, composer and recording artist with many critically acclaimed recordings under his name has recorded and performed with some of the most influential musicians in jazz and modern improvised music. He is an innovative musician, who is widely recognized as a technically advanced guitarist. He is known for being a relentless individualist, which is evidenced in his improvisational style. Ratko has had a prolific and extensive session history as a recording guitarist having played on many released recordings. He is a highly versatile player covering many areas of music but is best known for his work in the modern jazz and improvisation idiom. Ratko has released a number of albums as leader and sideman.

Ratko is considered a very gifted stylist, assumes many roles in his macrocosm of music: contemporary guitarist, composer, performer etc. Born in Croatia, Ratko in his early days was attracted by the sound of the guitar, both subversive sounds like those produced by Jimi Hendrix and from the classics like Bach and van Beethoven. He studied and graduated from Zagreb University. In his drive for the necessary knowledge and the enormous need for studies he sought his refuge in The Netherlands at the Rotterdam Conservatory, famous for its studies of modern music. There he could get teachings by well-known masters. He also followed masterclasses and personal courses with Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Mick Goodrick, Mike Stern, Bob Brookmayer, John Abercrombie and others.

Unlike some of his colleagues Ratko is not focusing only on saxophone phraseologies, but is continuously expanding the guitar’s vocabulary within today’s world of music. Whilst improving his performance to create his typical own sound and style, Ratko as a gifted teacher with a loaded teaching schedule, is capable of transposing most advanced phrases and concepts into structures, suitable for every musician. He gives master classes all around the world for guitar and fretless guitar, in countries like Slovenia, the Netherlands, France, Croatia and the United States.

After completing his study at the Rotterdam Conservatory, he also studied at New York University School of Music. He started to work with own group and with American trumpet veteran Benny Bailey. Ratko participated at many international festivals and has been booked for the major club dates at the European and American scene. Ratko has constantly made major efforts to enrich his experience with appearances and recordings. He was also performing and recording with Benny Bailey, Randy Brecker, Gary Peacock, Reggie Workman, John Pattituci, Al Foster, Steve Gadd, Antonio Sanchez, John Riley, Miroslav Vitous, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Jeff Tain Watts, Alvin Queen, Adam Nussbaum, Shawn Monteiro, Denise Jannah, Simone Zanchini , Renato Chicco, Stefano Bedetti etc.

01. Light in the World (4:55)
02. Storyteller (3:57)
03. Across the Gateway (5:34)
04. River Spirit (8:25)
05. Where to Stay (4:52)
06. Many Miles Away (5:46)
07. Heart of Season (5:04)
08. Trilogy Evolution (7:55)
09. Just Like It Is (6:00)

Ratko Zjaca (electric guitar, electronics , guitar bass octave)
Stefano Bedetti (tenor saxophone)
Renato Chicco (Hammond C3 organ)
John Riley (drums)

Light in the World | HIGHRESAUDIO

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