173

Ratko Zjaca / Simone Zanchini: The Way We Walk

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count
Ratko Zjaca / Simone Zanchini: The Way We Walk 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.

The Way We Talk, a collaborative effort of Croatian guitarist Ratko Zjaca and Italian accordionist Simone Zanchini, is an interesting exploration of sound, textures and rhythm. With bassist Martin Gjakonovski and drummer Adam Nussbaum in the crew, the quartet serves up a fine array of original selections. There's intelligence, humor, emotion, and a very playful sense to the selections and solos.

From the exciting Morse code pulses of "Pippo," (perhaps a nod to fine accordionist Angelo DiPippo?) and on to the exquisitely smooth triple-feeling "Twilight Time Again," Zanchini, Zjaca and Gjakonovski skip, slide and slither so nicely that the music and the improvisations predominate, and the instrumentation melds into melody. With Nussbaum's magnificent rhythmic and textural support, this is music of interest, fine improvisations and joy. There's a flavor of smoother rather than straight-ahead jazz, but, the variations in theme and textures along the way maintain and develop interest.

The quirky "Kandinsky Night," a selection dedicated to Weather Report co-founder/bassist Miroslav Vitous, flips and skirts melodic and rhythmic fragments. Nussbaum's initial[ly subtle but subsequently fierce drive mirrors and channels both Weather Report's "Birdland" and the group's more abstract work. A more thoughtful "One Mind Temple" further displays Zanchini and Gjakonov's fine musicianship.

"Frida Is Vanished" is a nostalgic Euro-ballad, Zanchini theatrically meandering across majors and minors with a timbre reminiscent of harmonica great Toots Thielemans. The pipes, cries and bellowing of "Morgagni Est" have Zanchini sounding calliope-like, before moving into a funky arabesque melody, while "La Stanza di Arturo" scoots along at greyhound pace, with accordion and guitar bopping.

"The Forest of Love" features Zjaca's beautiful acoustic guitar in a romantic display of shades. "Adam and Eva" strolls along happily, and "Friend for Life" joins accordion and guitar in a stroll across a musical memory lane. "Out of Body" perks along in a lilting jazz waltz feel.

The Way We Talk is a fine performance by talented and extremely well-versed players. The accordion sounds that Zanchini produces are a far cry from the polka-instrument rap accordionists might encounter.

Track Listing: Pippo; Twilight Time Again; Kandinsky Night; One Mind Temple; Frida Is Vanished; Morgagni Est; La Stanza Di Arturo; The Forest Of Love; Adam And Eva; A Friend For Life; Out Of Body.

Personnel: Ratko Zjaca: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, baritone guitar, effects; Simone Zanchini: accordion, live electronics; Martin Gjakonovski: acoustic bass; Adam Nussbaum: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: In+out record | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Malamute" CD/LP/Track Review Malamute
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Beauty Within" CD/LP/Track Review Beauty Within
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 3, 2016
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Of The Musical" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Musical
by Paul Naser
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Like, Strange" CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Troy Collins
Published: April 5, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!