Ryan Blotnick has been called “a vital contemporary voice” by Time Out New York, “an authentic, compelling player” by Cadence Magazine, and has garnered praise from fellow guitarists John Abercrombie, Steve Cardenas and Ben Monder. As part of one of the last generations to study with 1960s era masters like Gene Bertoncini, Harold Mabern, Yusef Lateef, Billy Taylor and Andrew Cyrille, Blotnick developed a deep respect for the post-bop and free-jazz traditions, while simultaneously being exposed to current directions in European and American improvisation. His interest in creative composition has led him to work with artists such as Michael Blake, Pete Robbins, Bill McHenry, Mat Maneri, and Tyshawn Sorey, who have each carved out their own niche at the forefront of modern jazz. His own compositions draw on an eclectic mix of genres and display a rich understanding of harmony and lyricism. His latest release Kush (2016) mines a bittersweet melodic/harmonic vein balanced by an African-influenced rhythmic elan. Conceived as an antidote to the more aggressive forms of New York jazz, Kush offers freshly-minted waltzes, haunting ballads and more than a touch of Frisellian Americana, as well as a variety of grooves combining jazz and African feels.
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A moody, unforced album rich in nuances... The mastery of space and tone within an improvisational setting is an art few have truly mastered; with Kush, Ryan Blotnick has shown himself to be among such rare masters S. Victor Aaron, Something Else Reviews