Friday
31. July
at 20.30
Gornji trg (Upper Square) - Ljubljana

RATKO ZJACA’S NEW ORGAN GROUP (Croatia, Italy, USA, Slovenia)

Ratko Zjaca, guitar
Stefano Bedetti, saxophone
Renato Chicco, hammond organ
John Riley, drums


An old acquaintance of the Jazz Stage cycle, experienced jazz musician Ratko Zjaca, who was in 2019 awarded by the Croatian Composers’ Association for outstanding authorial and artistic achievements in the field of jazz, is returning to our festival in the company of particularly distinguished colleagues. His original compositions, which were recently released on the album Life On Earth, will be joined by legendary drummer John Riley, one of Europe’s best saxophonists Stefano Bedetti, and brilliant organist and pianist Renato Chicco. The energy and musical passion of this ensemble provides a unique experience of rhythmic ideas and sound textures.

Croatian guitarist Ratko Zjaca, who according to critics achieves a “balance between body and soul” in music, performs and records with the most influential musicians of modern jazz and improvisation. He is known as a versatile artist, musical individualist, but also a stylist. In his youth, he was influenced by Bach, Beethoven, and the subversive Jimi Hendrix. He completed his studies at the University of Zagreb, expanding his horizons under the mentorship of many master musicians at the Rotterdam Conservatory, and later in New York. He continues to complement his recognizable style with modern expressive vocabulary. He has performed at world-famous festivals and major European and American clubs and has released several high profile CDs.

Organist and pianist Renato Chicco, from Izola, Slovenia, studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz (where he is now a professor of jazz improvisation), and continued his studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He first played in New York between 1990 and 1998 in the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. After that, he collaborated with Jon Hendricks & Company as music director and pianist. He worked intensively on the New York club scene, and appeared on radio and television. He has toured throughout the US, Asia, South America, and played with jazz giants such as Lou Donaldson, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Red Holloway, Al Gray, Joe Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Gary Burton, Milt Hinton, Reggie Workman, and others. He has participated in more than fifty albums and has recorded two CDs with his arrangements of Slovenian folk songs.

Stefano Bedetti began playing the tenor saxophone at the age of fourteen and started discovering new approaches to music, inspired by the mastery of Charlie Parker, Michael Brecker, and others. At the age of eighteen, he joined the ensemble of drummer Giulio Capiozzo (at his invitation) and began a professional career. He also performed with the group Jestofunk, joined the Marco Tamburini Quintet in 2004, and formed his own quartet in 2005. In 2007, he released his first album, The Bright Side of the Moon. Soon Lenny White invited him into his trio; with this ensemble Bedetti performed at the New York Jazz Club IRIDIUM. He stayed in New York until 2012, and after returning to Europe he played mainly in the quartet of Simone Zanchini (alongside Ratko Zjaca, John Patitucci and Adam Nussbaum).

The outstanding career of American drummer John Riley has featured performances with jazz greatnesses and reputable bands such as Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Bob Mintzer, Gary Peacock, Mike Stern, Joe Lovano, Franck Amsallem, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, John Patitucci, Bob Berg, etc. Riley began playing drums at the age of eight and was initially musically educated privately with Thomas Sicola. He studied at the University of North Texas College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. He moved to New York in 1976 and was soon engaged to Woody Herman’s band. Afterwards, he set out on the path of a freelance artist and began collaborating with world-renowned musicians. He is also a distinguished educator. He teaches at the Manhattan School of Music, The New School, and SUNY Purchase, as well as at master classes around the world, and is a resident artist at the Amsterdam Conservatory. He has written the books The Art of Bop Drumming, and Beyond Bop Drumming, which are the best-selling professional publications in the field of jazz drumming.


Admission free.

Due to safety measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections, all visitors must disinfect their hands regularly, and observe a safety distance of at least 1.5 m. According to the NIJZ regulation, the collection of personal data of all visitors is mandatory, the data must be kept for 30 days. To ensure safety, we kindly ask all visitors to strictly follow the instructions. If you suspect that you have come in contact with the coronavirus or are showing typical signs of the disease, do not attend the event. Let’s take care of ourselves and our loved ones.


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Izdelava spletne strani: Pozitiven Design, Oblikovanje: LUKS Studio