Primary Instrument: Guitar
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 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, Alvin Queen, Ron Carter, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, Adam Nussbaum, Shawnn Monteiro, Denise Jannah 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 just recorded a new record, Continental Talk, with John Patitucci, Steve Gadd, Randy Brecker and Stan Mitrovic.
Ratko endorses Mirabella Guitars.
Ratko endorses Godin Guitars.
Ratko uses CP-1A pickups for acoustic guitar from Carlos Juan.
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