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In & Out Records

Ratko Zjaca - Archtop Avenue

Ratko Zjaca - Archtop Avenue

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While respecting the harmonic contours and deeply ingrained melodies of those oft-covered tunes, and others presented here on Archtop Avenue, Zjaca puts his own personal stamp on them through reharmonization, subtle rhythmic shifts and improvisational flights. Recording each track with a different archtop guitar, he interprets these beloved standards, and a few originals, with taste and invention. Always mindful of addressing the bass line while delivering rich chord voicings and spinning fluid melody lines, he strikes a delicate balancing act on these 12 tunes from Archtop Avenue. The prospect of playing standards in an unaccompanied setting - juggling chords, melody and bass lines - can be a daunting task for most guitarists. The legendary Jim Hall found the prospect "terrifying," while the great Joe Pass may have set the standard for solo guitar with his series of Virtuoso recordings from the 1970s. Pass' influence weighs heavily throughout Archtop Avenue. You can hear it in the masterful, contrapuntal playing by Zjaca on Duke Ellington's gorgeous ballad "Prelude To A Kiss", on Jimmy Van Heusen's "Darn That Dream", and his introspective take on George & Ira Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me". The longtime resident of Rotterdam, Netherlands explores those familiar vehicles with a mix of reverence and adventure in this intimate and demanding solo guitar outing, his 17th album as a leader/co-leader. Dedicated to the world's most famous guitar builders and inspired by a list of musical teachers who opened up his musical horizons, from Joe Pass and Jim Hall to Joe Diorio, Mick Goodrick and Vic Juris, Archtop Avenue is a compelling addition to the canon of solo guitar and a crowning achievement in Zjaca's career to date.

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