5

ZZ Quartet: Beyond the Lines

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Croatian guitarist Ratko Zjaca and Italian accordionist Simone Zanchini hit artistic pay dirt when they teamed up for The Way We Talk (In + Out Records, 2010). They joined forces with Macedonian bassist Martin Gjakonovski and American drummer Adam Nussbaum for that album, creating a cross-cultural blend of music that speaks to specific musical idiosyncracies and universal truths in sound. Now, a few years after that initial encounter-on-record, this outfit returns with a follow-up that's just as pleasing and unique as its debut.

on Beyond The Lines, this foursome delivers music that's alternately breezy, brainy, brash or bold. They create beautiful aural tapestries ("Bale Con La Uno" and "Days Of Old"), use simple, evolving riffs and overlapping ostinatos as a leaping off point for something greater ("The Clockwork"), and delight in delivering a zany, left-of-center hoedown ("Celtico"). Understatement also has its place in the program ("River Spirit"), as does full-steam-ahead interplay ("The Judge Says You Are Innocent") and tuneful cheeriness ("The Easy Whistler"). These men truly manage to cover a lot of ground as they move beyond the lines and wherever else they please.

Some of these pieces use textural elements as structural cornerstones while others tend to be built on and around rhythmic foundations, but all of the music speaks to the creative spirit of its makers. Zanchini seems to have the greatest range of all the men at play, serving as instigator one minute and creating sonic sedatives the next, but Zjaca is the solo voice of note. His solo spots simultaneously display deep thought and highlight an off-the-cuff creative streak that's ever-visible. Nussbaum and Gjakonovski prove to be an organic pair that's willing and able to do whatever the music demands, be it moving forward, receding into the shadows, or playing things straight.

In ZZ Quartet, differences and likenesses both prove to be assets. These four men wear their individuality and togetherness like a badge of honor on Beyond The Lines.

Track Listing: Vogio Una Donna; Celtico; River Spirit; Freak In Freak Out; The Clockwork; Bale Con La Uno; The Judge Says You Are Not Innocent; Days of Old; The Lost Call; The South Song; The Easy Whistler.

Personnel: Ratko Zjaca: guitars; Simone Zanchini: accordion; Martin Gjakonovski: bass; Adam Nussbaum: drums.

Title: Beyond the Lines | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: In + Out Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Birdhoused" CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read "Translator's Note" CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017
Read "Quantum Man" CD/LP/Track Review Quantum Man
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Special Night" CD/LP/Track Review Special Night
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Feefifofum Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Feefifofum Quartet
by James Nadal
Published: July 9, 2017
Read "The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture" CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.