Denise Jannah, vocals
Ratko Zjaca, guitar
Renato Chicco, Hammond organ
Klemens Marktl, drums
The international trio of renowned instrumentalists is performing this time with Denise Jannah, one of the most famous singers of the world jazz scene.
»Quite simply, Denise Jannah is one of the best jazz singers to come along in the 25 years I’ve been writing about music.« (Gary Giddins in the Village Voice, New York)
»Jannah’s voice is fine – rich, certain and teeming with a candor undiminished by the artifice of record-making.« (Down Beat)
»Her voice is so direct, the delivery so fresh and clear that she will surely withstand the test of time.« (Jazz Times)
»Based in the Netherlands, singer Denise Jannah made a few records for Blue Note … She is one of the few singers around who truly meets the standards set down by the generations that gave us Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae. Her supple and spontaneous phrasing, exquisite intonation, respect for a lyric and richly textured yet clear-as-a-bell vocal color are the kind of qualities that never go out of style.« (Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press columnist)
Denise Jannah studied at the Conservatory in Hilversum and completed her studies there, also earning her degree as a vocal educator. She performed seven times at the North Sea Jazz Festival and toured the world from New York to Johannesburg, to Japan and back. Up till now she has won two Edison Awards, the Golden Orpheus (Bulgaria), the Bata Anastacievic Festival Award (Serbia) and Meer Jazz Award (Netherlands). She has performed for royalty and other heads of states, including Queen of Holland and Dutch crown prince, leaders of the European Union at the »Eurotop«, presidents Ellen Sirleaf Johnson (Liberia) and Ronald Venetiaan (Suriname), former president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, former presidents Kenneth Kaunda and Nelson Mandela etc. In 2009 Jannah received a Royal decoration from Her Majesty the Queen of Holland, Beatrix, as Ridder in de orde van Oranje Nassau.
A versatile guitar player and composer Ratko Zjaca has recorded and performed with some of the most influential musicians in jazz and modern improvisation music. He is an innovative musician, widely recognized as a technically advanced guitarist, known also for being a relentless individualist (which is evident in his improvisational style). Born in Croatia, Ratko in his early days was attracted both by subversive guitar sounds like those produced by Jimi Hendrix and by classics like Bach and Beethoven. He studied and graduated from Zagreb University and continued his studies at Rotterdam Conservatory and at New York University School of Music. He also attended masterclasses and personal courses with Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Mick Goodrick, Mike Stern, Bob Brookmayer, John Abercrombie and others. Ratko first performed with his own group and with American trumpet veteran Benny Bailey. He participated at many international festivals and has been booked for the major club dates across the Europe and America. He also played and recorded with Benny Bailey, Randy Brecker, Gary Peacock, Reggie Workman, John Pattituci, Al Foster, Steve Gadd, Miroslav Vitous, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Jeff Tain Watts, Alvin Queen, Adam Nussbaum, Shawnn Monteiro and others. He is currently composing and working on a new world music project (playing baritone, sitar, fretless, soprano, electric and acoustic guitars), thereby completing his previous record Shades of Spirit / Fretless Guitar Project.
Organist Renato Chicco studied at the University of Music in Graz, Austria, and at Berklee College of Music in Boston. While living in New York City (1990–1998) he was a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and pianist and musical director with Jon Hendricks & Company (1991–1997). Being active on the New York scene during that time, aside from playing in clubs like the Blue Note, Birdland and the Village Gate, he took part of radio and TV shows (with Lionel Hampton and Jon Hendricks), performed in festivals and clubs all over the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. Renato also performed with Lou Donaldson, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Red Holloway, Al Grey, Joe Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Gary Burton, Milt Hinton, Reggie Workman, Jerry Bergonzi, Steve Grossman, Al Foster and many others. Among his recordings as a leader (on piano) Renato recorded two CDs of his jazz arrangements of Slovenian folk songs and recently one CD as a leader (and three as a co-leader on organ). As a sideman he has appeared on over 50 recordings. Renato is currently professor for jazz improvisation at the Music University in Graz and continues to perform all over the world.
Drummer, bandleader, composer, arranger and professor of jazz drums at Klagenfurt conservatory Klemens Marktl was born in Austria. After studying classical piano at a very young age he discovered his »passion« – the drums. He studied drums in Austria, The Hague, Amsterdam and New York with – among others – Carl Allen, Ralph Peterson, Greg Hutchinson, Ari Hoenig and John Riley. From 1997 to 2003 Klemens was living in the Netherlands and worked professionally as a drummer and bandleader in the international jazzscene. In 2003 he recorded his first CD The Challenge, presenting exclusively his own compositions and featuring Austrian saxophonist Michael Erian as well as dutch pianist Bob Wijnen, saxophonist Jasper Blom and bassist Jeroen Vierdag. Klemens Marktl has toured and recorded with jazz greats such as George Garzone, Seamus Blake, Aaron Goldberg, Chris Cheek, Matt Penman, Johannes Weidenmueller, Barry Harris, Jesse van Ruller, Renato Chicco, Ferdinand Povel, Jasper Blom, Phillip Harper, Frans Elsen, Michael Erian, Primus Sitter, Harry Sokal, Erich Kleinschuster, Heinz von Hermann, Rick Margitza, John Swana, Rob Bargad, Kenny Werner, Herwig Gradischnig, Andy Middleton, Martin Reiter, Peter Madsen, Johannes Enders, Reinhard Micko, Oliver Kent, Christian Havel, Erwin Schmidt, Robert Bachner Big Band, Karin Bachner, Ratko Zjaca, Judy Niemack, Jure Pukl, Matthias Pichler, Milan Nikolic, Piotr Wojtasek, Marc Abrams and others.