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Saturn Returning

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Austrian guitarist Karl Ratzer's recording career as a leader goes back to 1978, but this 1997 release was his first decent opportunity to get some North American exposure beyond his sideman roles. Ratzer came to the U.S. in 1972 and began working with R&B groups and an astonishing range of jazz artists, including flautist Jeremy Steig, trumpeters Chet Baker and Clark Terry, and saxophonist Joe Farrell. Saturn Returning's high-grade, funk and fusion is a culmination and refinement of those experiences.

Ratzer's brand of fusion is lean and earthy, with a firm foundation in jazz, the blues and creative group interplay. There are no faddish frills. Pianist and organist Dan Wall — probably best known for his work with John Abercrombie — brings a nimble versatility to the date. (Wall's ties to Ratzer go back to their work together in Atlanta in the 1970s.) George Farmer (trumpeter Art's son) on electric bass lays down solid support, making tasteful, discriminating use of the slaps and pops. Drummer Silvio Berger and percussionist Ricardo Mateus are active and colourful with clean, tight, drive and accents.

By the time of this date, Ratzer's speedy, chops-heavy approach had evolved into one based more on feel and musicianship. The Atlanta influence is evident in a sophisticated, patient attack that knows how and when to build drama and intensity into the overall group groove. Guitar fans, especially those mourning the passing of genre-busting pickers Danny Gatton, Roy Buchanan and Lowell George, will want to take a close listen to this date. The set will also prove refreshing to the jaded for whom fusion became a four-letter word somewhere around the dawn of the 1980s.


Genre: Jazz

Jahre aktiv: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Jazz musician Karl Ratzer, a singer, composer, and guitarist, was born in Vienna, but he got his start in the music world in the '60s with funk and rock bands in Austria. In 1972, he moved to the United States and began working with a group best known as Rufus & Chaka Khan. In 1977, Ratzer formed a band with Dan Wall, Jeremy Steig, Ray Mantilla, Eddie Gomez, and Joe Chambers. Over his career, Ratzer has worked with a well-known mix of funk, pop, jazz, and blues artists such as Art Farmer, Chet...
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Saturn Returning, Karl Ratzer
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