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Album Review

Guitarist Ratko Zjaca has been on the jazz scene for a while but remains a talent deserving of wider recognition. A graduate of Zagreb University who also studied jazz at Rotterdam Conservatory and New York University, Zjaca has either taken master classes or studied individually with giants like Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Bob Brookmeyer, John Abercrombie, and Mick Goodrick, among others. Zjaca recorded several CDs prior to Continental Talk, while both bassist John Patitucci and tenor saxophonist Stanislav Mitrovic have recorded with him previously, with the quartet rounded out by veteran drummer Steve Gadd. Zjaca's opening minor blues "Breakfast in Tokyo" proves to be immediately infectious, with robust solos by Mitrovic, the leader, and Patitucci. Zjaca moves to acoustic guitar for his intimate miniature "At the Crossroads," with Mitrovic added on tenor around its midpoint. Mitrovic also contributed several originals, including the bossa nova-flavored "E Doubt," which showcases guest trumpeter Randy Brecker. Mitrovic switches to soprano for "Inner Ears," engaging in a edgy duet with Gadd in its opening minutes, remaining on the instrument for his plaintive ballad "Feathers." This potent session should help increase the awareness of both Ratko Zjaca and Stanislav Mitrovic.

Continental Talk, Ratko Zjaca
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