RATKO ZJACA

Contemporary Guitarist - Performer - Composer - Recording Artist - Educator


Ratko Zjaca - Nocturnal Quartet

All about this group is its emphasis on creativity and originality, they bring out every nuance and explore every crevice of brilliant compositions.

Ratko Zjaca

Ratko Zjaca

"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

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 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, Shawnn Monteiro, Denise Jannah, Renato Chicco, Stefano Bedetti etc.

In April 2000 Ratko recorded "A Day in Manhattan" in New York with the jazz stars 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 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 record, Continental Talk, with John Patitucci, Steve Gadd, Randy Brecker and Stan Mitrovic.

Ratko just released a new record on In+Out Records, The Way We Talk, with Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum and Martin Gjakonovski.

Ratko's new recording Now and Then is out with Simone Zanchini, Miroslav Vitous, John Patitucci, Reggie Workman, Steve Gadd, Randy Brecker and others on In + Out Records.

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 jazz guitarist in South American El Intruso New Creative Music Critics Poll Award for 2010.

He recorded a new album with the ZZ Quartet 2013 Beyond the lines (Zjaca, Zanchini, Nussbaum, Gjakonovski).

A new CD "Don't Try This Anywhere" will be released in January 2016 - Ratko with Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum, John Patitucci and Stefano Bedetti.

Selected discography

"Ratko Zjaca Nocturnal Mission Quartet"

"The Bag is Packed" - Benny Bailey Group

Ratko Zjaca Quartet live jazz festival

"A Day in Manhattan" - Ratko Zjaca, Reggie Workman, Al Foster

"Live" - Reggie Workman and Jim Cobb Sextet

"Shades of Spirit", Fretless Guitar Project - Ratko Zjaca and Stanislav Mitrovic

"Crossing The Border" - Ratko Zjaca, Stan Mitrovic, John Pattituci, Al Foster

"Continental Talk" - Ratko Zjaca, John Patitucci, Steve Gadd, Stan Mitrovic, Randy Brecker

"The Way We Talk" - Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum, Martin Gjakonovski

"Now and Then" - Ratko Zjaca with Simone Zanchini, Miroslav Vitous, John Patitucci, Reggie Workman, Adam Nussbaum, Steve Gadd, Al Foster and others

"Beyond the Lines" - Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum, Martin Gjakonovski

"Don't Try This Anywhere" - Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini, John Patitucci, Adam Nussbaum and Stefano Bedetti - Coming 2016

Stan Mitrovic

Stan Mitrovic

He took first piano and then clarinet lessons at the state music school.

Played in different balkan traditional oriented bands from age of 16.

Move to The Netherlands in 1988, where he studied saxophone and bass clarinet at the conservatory of Rotterdam.

Co-founder and composer - arranger of "Double B", a world-jazz inspired reeds duo together with Akos Laki (Dutch jazz price 1996), recorded CD "Cha-chack train".

Recorded with Herbie Hancock Headhunters-rhythm section (Paul Jackon, Mike Clark) CD "Ethno-funk".

Played with Burton Green quartet and Greenes klezmer band Klezmokum, CD "Le dor va dor".

Numerous times played at North Sea Jazz Festival.

Played with Ratko Zjaca-Reggie Workman Quartet tour.

Endorsers for Selmer instruments.

Played tenor, alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, electric wind instrument, several traditional flutes and keyboard.

CD: Continental Talk with Ratko Zjaca, John Patitucci, Randy Brecker, Steve Gadd

CD: Crossing the Border, with Ratko Zjaca, John Patitucci and Al Foster.

Martin Gjakonovski

Martin Gjakonovski

Born in Skopje, Macedonia in a family of jazz musicians. His father was the founder and conducter of the macedonian Jazz Radio Big Band and his mother a jazz vocalist. Martin started playing classical double-bass at the age of 14, but soon his passion for jazz awoke and resulted with the founding of his first band, Trio Spato.

The opening door to the international jazz scene was a jazz workshop with the Coltrane bassplayer Reggie Workman in Groznjan, Croatia (1990).

In 1991 he moved to Cologne, Germany studying jazz bass at the Music Academy of Cologne.

He also learned from other great bassplayers such as Arild Andersen, John Clayton, Mike Richmond and Eddie Gomez.

In the coming years he became one of the busiest and most versatile bassists in Germany playing with such musicians as: Dusko Goykovich, Paul Shigihara, Ferenc Snetberger, David Friedman, Lee Konitz, Atilla Zoller, Don Friedman, Pete Yellin, Matt Wilson, Tony Lakatos, Ingrid Jensen, Andy Middleton, Kenny Wheeler, Kenny Werner, Charlie Mariano, Greg Hopkins, Don Menza etc.

In the last 10 years he worked and is still playing with Michael Sagmeister Trio, Dusko Goykovich Quintet, Nicolas Simion Group, Antonio FaraĆ² Trio (feat. Bob Berg, Sonny Fortune, Rick Margitza, Gene Jackson), Lynne Arriale Trio (feat. Benny Golson, Steve Davis), Paul Kuhn Trio (feat. Toots Thielemans, Ack Van Rooyen, Jiggs Whigham), Bojan Z Expatriots, Paul Shigihara Group (feat. Mokhtar Samba), Frankfurt Jazz Trio and many others.

He has recorded more than 120 jazz and world music CDs.

Taco Gorter

Taco Gorter

Taco Gorter is known in and outside Holland as one of the most creative, groovy, versatile but most of all loving-to-play-great-music drummers of his generation. He masters Funk as well as Jazz. He is a Batucada specialist, plays Latin, Salsa, Samba with the big ones.

Taco played so much in the various clubs all over Holland and Europe for many years. He decided to e focus on his carreer as a professional drummer/percussionist/composer and recorded many CDs. For years at a stretch Taco played with various formations at various festivals,not to mention the North Sea Jazz Festival and playing with Roy Hargrove and many other famous musicians.