Contemporary Guitarist - Performer - Composer - Recording Artist - Educator
"Ratko presents a dynamic collection of jazz and attains something very rare indeed - a balance between body and soul." - Vernon Reid
"Once again I am pleased to hear that Ratko is continuing to carve his niche, as an important contributor to contemporary music. Enjoyable and inspiring." - Reggie Workman
"Ratko's new CD is full of great compositions played by a top notch band. With his lyrical playing, this makes for a most enjoyable listening experience." - John Abercrombie
"Ratko put together a great band and found beautiful original compositions for us to play on... it was a very free session, musically speaking everyone played their hearts out." - Randy Brecker
"My brother Mike thrived on originality, everything about him was different. He would have loved this CD which oozes originality and interaction at the highest level. These great musicians know how to LISTEN... this is just a stupendous effort... I really enjoyed it too!" - Randy Brecker
Guitarist / Performer / Composer / Recording Artist / Educator
Ratko Zjaca 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 Zjaca is considered a very gifted stylist, assumes many roles in his macrocosm of music: contemporary guitarist, composer, performer and educator. His unique musical vision absorbs and reflects all manner of music while retaining an enviable individualism and high quality craftsmanship that can span from quiet intimacy to searing intensity. Diverse musical backgrounds, which include jazz, world music, and free improvisation. He has been working on original compositions as well as crafting beautiful and haunting improvisations. He invented a unique style that is fearless, ambitious and volatile. 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. There he could get teachings by well-known masters. He also followed masterclasses and personal courses with Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Bob Brookmayer, John Abercrombie, Mick Goodrick, Hariprasad Chaurasia 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 where he studied jazz guitar, composition and Indian classical music, he also studied at New York University School of Music. He started to work with own group and with American trumpet veteran Benny Bailey group. 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, Gary Peacock, Reggie Workman, John Patitucci, Al Foster, Jimmy Cobb, Steve Gadd, Antonio Sanchez, John Riley, Alvin Queen, Ron Carter, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, Jeff Tain Watts, Adam Nussbaum, Kirk Lightsey, Simone Zancini, Anders Bergcrantz, Shawnn Monteiro, Denise Jannah, Renato Chicco, Stefano Bedetti, etc.
In April 2000 Ratko recorded "A Day in Manhattan" in New York with members of John Coltrane and Miles Davis rhythm section, Reggie Workman and Al Foster.
Ratko is currently composing music and working on a new world music project on which he plays baritone, sitar, fretless, soprano, electric and acoustic guitars - this will be the second part of his previous record Shades of Spirit, Fretless Guitar Project.
Ratko started a new quartet with the legendary bass player and composer Miroslav Vitous.
Ratko released a quartet recording, Crossing The Border, in New York City with John Patitucci, Al Foster and Stan Mitrovic, with all original compisitions of all members of the quartet.
Ratko released a new record, Continental Talk, with John Patitucci, Steve Gadd, Randy Brecker and Stan Mitrovic.
He just released a new CD "The Way We Talk" with Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum and Martin Gjakonovski.
"Now and Then" is Ratko's latest CD with his favourite musicians: Miroslav Vitous, John Patitucci, Reggie Workman, Al Foster, Randy Brecker and others.
A new CD of the ZZ Quartet, "Beyond The Lines", on In+Out Records is out now.
A new CD "Don't Try This Anywhere" is out now - Ratko with Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum, John Patitucci and Stefano Bedetti.
The CD "Don't Try This Anywhere" has won the Orpheus Award for 2016 - the best Italian production 2015 for jazz music.
A new CD "Life on Earth" is coming out in January 2018 - Ratko with Antonio Sanchez, Stefano Bedetti and Renato Chicco.
Ratko performs on handcrafted guitars made by Chris Mirabella.
Ratko endorses Godin Guitars.
Ratko uses CP-1A pickups for acoustic guitar from Carlos Juan.
Ratko Zjaca is nominated for best guitarist and musician in South American El Intruso New Creative Music Criticts Poll Award for 2010 by an international vote of journalists.