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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

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Nocturnal Four: Life On Earth

Read "Life On Earth" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

What's in a band name? Sometimes, absolutely nothing; but in this case, a world of truth. Croatian guitarist Ratko Zjaca's Nocturnal Four infuses his music with vespertine vibes and shrouds it in shadows, living up to its name while carving out its own identity on an absorbing program calling to the moonlight. After forging a bandstand brotherhood through touring with saxophonist Stefano Bedetti and organist Renato Chicco, it was clear to Zjaca that they needed to be ...

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Ratko Zjaca: Now & Then: A Portrait

Read "Now & Then: A Portrait" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Boiling a decade's worth of work down to one CD must be a frustrating yet gratifying process. Frustration likely surrounds the idea of reducing ten years of blood, sweat, composing and performing into a single package, but the recorded evidence of one's artistic growth and reach is the ultimate reward. Such is the case with the music on Now & Then: A Portrait, which serves as a survey of Croatian guitarist Ratko Zjaca's output from 2000 to 2011.

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Ratko Zjaca / Simone Zanchini: The Way We Walk

Read "The Way We Walk" reviewed by Nicholas F. Mondello

Jazz musicians are, in essence and practice, explorers and high-wire artists. The finest improvising players use their instruments to mine the dimensions of sound, rhythm and emotional perception, doing so without a safety net. Like its keyboard cousin the piano, the accordion as an instrument that challenges its players to explore the technical and harmonic universes out there. Unlike the piano, however, the accordion has only recently crossed cultural barriers into jazz and into more abstract playing. ...

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Ratko Zjaca / Simone Zanchini: The Way We Talk

Read "The Way We Talk" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Little more than a year ago, the great Croation guitarist, Ratko Zjaca, released the terrific Continental Talk (In + Out Records 2009) with his longtime collaborator, saxophonist, Stanislav Mitrovic, and some all-star American support. Not content to follow even a highly successful formula, Zjaca has teamed with Italian accordionist Simone Zanchini, Macedonian bassist Martin Gjakonovski and American drummer Adam Nussbaum for The Way We Talk. Zjaca's new--but still global--quartet represents a change, not only in group structure, but in its ...

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Ratko Zjaca / Simone Zanchini: The Way We Talk

Read "The Way We Talk" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Guitarist Ratko Zjaca's previous albums have been cross-cultural affairs, with top-flight American jazz musicians joining the Croatian guitarist on his musical journeys. While these players have vastly different backgrounds, Zjaca's music has acted as a binding agent, allowing these disparate musical personalities to coalesce into a solid working unit that moves together in service of the music. The Way We Talk continues this global trend with an American drummer, Italian accordion player and Macedonian bassist joining the guitarist, but the ...

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Ratko Zjaca: Continental Talk

Read "Continental Talk" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

When a group's credentials include bassist John Patitucci, drummer Steve Gadd and trumpeter Randy Brecker, it's not an unreasonable expectation to hear some quality jazz. What may be more surprising is that leader, guitarist and composer, Ratko Zjaca and his longtime collaborator, saxophonist, Stanislav Mitrovic, steal the show on Continental Talk. This revelation is almost entirely due to the relative obscurity of these Croatian musicians in the U.S. As a teenager, Zjaca was inspired by performances from both the John ...

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Ratko Zjaca: Continental Talk

Read "Continental Talk" reviewed by John Barron

When guitarist Ratko Zjaca plans a recording session, he thinks big in terms of sidemen. The guitarist's 2006 release Crossing the Border (Nishville Records) featured bassist John Patitucci and drummer Al Foster, along with saxophonist and co-producer Stanislav Mitrovic. For Continental Talk, Patitucci and Mitrovic return and Foster is replaced by legendary drummer Steve Gadd. Trumpeter Randy Brecker is featured on three tunes.

The disc's twelve tracks--all original material written by Zjaca and Mitrovic--range from in-the-pocket funk to more open-ended ...


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