ZZ Quartet (Zanchini, Zjaca, Nussbaum, Gjakonovski)

Simone Zanchini – accordion
Ratko Zjaca – guitar
Martin Gjakonovski – bass
Adam Nussbaum – drums


Video: ZZ Quartet – Twilight Time Again

This group has a unique musical vision that absorbs and reflects all manner of music while retaining an enviable individualism and high quality craftsmanship that can span from quiet intimacy to searing intensity. Diverse musical backgrounds, which include jazz, modern classical, world music, and free improvisation. They have been working on original compositions as well as crafting beautiful and haunting improvisations. Their music blurs the boundaries between notated music and free improvisation; the unique sonic landscapes that result are grounded in history, while pushing at the boundaries of modern improvised music.

ZZ Quartet Discography

Beyond The Lines (In + Out Records)
The Way We Talk (In + Out Records)
Don’t Try This Anywhere (In + Out Records)

Simone Zanchini


Simone Zanchini is an accordion virtuoso from Rimini, Italy.

Considered one of the most interesting and innovative accordion player on the international scene, his research moves between the boundaries of contemporary music, acoustic and electronic sound experimentation, mixing together experiences and super-refined influences issuing in an absolutely personal approach to improvisation materials. Eclectic musician, performs an intense concert activity with groups of diverse musical backgrounds (improvisation, contemporary music, jazz, classical). Graduated with honors in classical accordion at the Conservatory G. Rossini in Pesaro, with the Master Sergio Scappini.

He has performed in several Festivals in Italy (Clusone Jazz, Umbria Jazz, Tivoli Jazz, Jazz in the Time-Berchidda, Sant’Anna Arresi, Barga Jazz, Mara Jazz, Jazz-in’it, Ravenna Festival, Rossini Opera Festival, Siena Jazz, Roccella Jonica etc.) and in the mainly international Festivals (France, Austria, Germany, England, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Spain, England, Norway, Russia, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Venezuela, Japan, etc.).

He has collaborated with many internationally renowned musicians from different musical backgrounds such as: Thomas Clausen, Gianluigi Trovesi, Javier Girotto, Marco Tamburini, Massimo Manzi, Tamara Obrovac, Krunoslav Levacic, Vasko Atanasovski, Paul Fresu, Antonello Salis, Han Bennink, Art Van Damme, Bruno Tommaso, Ettore Fioravanti, Mario Marzi, Michele Rabbia, Andrea Dulbecco, Giovanni Tommaso, Gabriele Mirabassi, Frank Marocco, Bill Evans, Adam Nussbaum, Jim Black. Since 1999 he collaborates with the Soloists of the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with this group he toured regularly.

Aside from musical performances and reasearch, Zanchini leads also accordion’s workshops and collective impro.

In 2006 he published Be-bop Buffet (Wide Sound) a duet with Frank Marocco, a model of the Bebop language expressed with the accordion. In 2009 Better Alone…! (Silta Records) a solo project where prove all tone colours of his instrument through the use of a particular midi accordion, live electronics and laptop, in the same year he published also Fuga per Art Jazz 5et (DodiciLune Records), the unique tribute work of Zanchini, a tribute to his great Master and one of the greatest exponents of the jazz accordion: Art Van Damme.

In 2010 he published a new Project with Ratko Zjaca (guitar), Martin Gjakonovski (bass) and Adam Nussbaum (drums): The Way We Talk (In + Out Records).

In May 2012 has been released the latest Zanchini project: MY ACCORDION’S CONCEPT (Silta Records) a project built up on radical improvisation with the acoustic accordion and live electronics, a brave attempt to subvert the common code of expression through the accordion.

In December 2012 he recorded a new album with the ZZ Quartet (Zjaca, Zanchini, Nussbaum, Gjakonovski).

Selected Discography

MY ACCORDION’S CONCEPT (Silta Records, 2012), Simone Zanchini (solo; acoustic and midi accordion, electronics, noises, kazoo)
BETTER ALONE…! (Silta Records, 2008), Simone Zanchini (solo; midi accordion, acoustic accordion, live electronics, laptop)
FUGA PER ART (to Art Van Damme) (Dodici Lune, 2008), SIMONE ZANCHINI Jazz Quintet, Simone Zanchini, Giancarlo Bianchetti, Andrea Dulbecco, Stefano Senni, Massimo Manzi
BE-BOP BUFFET (Wide Sound, 2006), ZANCHINI – MAROCCO DUO, Simone Zanchini, Frank Marocco (accordions)
Milonga del Angel (Stradivarius, 2008), Mario Marzi, Simone Zanchini, Paolo Zannini
La Léuna Zala (2004), D. Piccari, S. Zanchini, G. Perinelli, D. Sillato, A. Alessi, S. Calvano
Live at Ravenna Festival (2001), Ensemble Strumentale Scaligero from LA SCALA, 14 musicisti del Teatro la SCALA
PROGETTI (Barvin, 2002), SIMONE ZANCHINI and friends
Faro, (Wide Sound, 2004), Terre di Mezzo quartetto, S. Zanchini, Emiliano Rodriguez, Roberto Bartoli, Ettore Fioravanti
Tango y Algo Mas (Velut luna, 2003), Mario Marzi, Simone Zanchini, Paolo Zannini
“The Way We Talk” – Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum, Martin Gjakonovski
“Beyond the Lines” – Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum, Martin Gjakonovski
“Don’t try this anywhere” – Simone Zanchini,Ratko Zjaca, John Patitucci,Adam Nussbaum and Stefano Bedetti

Ratko Zjaca


“Ratko presents a dynamic collection of jazz and attains something very rare indeed – a balance between body and soul.” – Vernon Reid

“Once again I am pleased to hear that Ratko is continuing to carve his niche, as an important contributor to contemporary music. Enjoyable and inspiring.” – Reggie Workman

“Ratko’s new CD is full of great compositions played by a top notch band. With his lyrical playing, this makes for a most enjoyable listening experience.” – John Abercrombie

“Ratko put together a great band and found beautiful original compositions for us to play on… it was a very free session, musically speaking everyone played their hearts out.” – Randy Brecker

“My brother Mike thrived on originality, everything about him was different. He would have loved this CD which oozes originality and interaction at the highest level. These great musicians know how to LISTEN… this is just a stupendous effort… I really enjoyed it too!” – Randy Brecker

“I listened and really enjoyed this album. The collaboration of these four artists is brilliant and extremely well played. They are all musicians of the highest caliber. CD – Life on earth” – Lenny White

Ratko Zjaca is an award winning guitarist, composer and recording artist with many critically acclaimed recordings under his name has recorded and performed with some of the most influential musicians in jazz and modern improvised music. He is an innovative musician, who is widely recognized as a technically advanced guitarist. He is known for being a relentless individualist, which is evidenced in his improvisational style. Ratko has had a prolific and extensive session history as a recording guitarist having played on many released recordings. He is a highly versatile player covering many areas of music but is best known for his work in the modern jazz and improvisation idiom. Ratko has released a number of albums as leader and sideman.

Ratko is considered a very gifted stylist, assumes many roles in his macrocosm of music: contemporary guitarist, composer, performer etc. Born in Croatia, Ratko in his early days was attracted by the sound of the guitar, both subversive sounds like those produced by Jimi Hendrix and from the classics like Bach and van Beethoven. He studied and graduated from Zagreb University. In his drive for the necessary knowledge and the enormous need for studies he sought his refuge in The Netherlands at the Rotterdam Conservatory, famous for its studies of modern music. There he could get teachings by well-known masters. He also followed masterclasses and personal courses with Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Mick Goodrick, Mike Stern, Bob Brookmayer, John Abercrombie and others.

Unlike some of his colleagues Ratko is not focusing only on saxophone phraseologies, but is continuously expanding the guitar’s vocabulary within today’s world of music. Whilst improving his performance to create his typical own sound and style, Ratko as a gifted teacher with a loaded teaching schedule, is capable of transposing most advanced phrases and concepts into structures, suitable for every musician. He gives master classes all around the world for guitar and fretless guitar, in countries like Slovenia, the Netherlands, France, Croatia and the United States.

After completing his study at the Rotterdam Conservatory, he also studied at New York University School of Music. He started to work with own group and with American trumpet veteran Benny Bailey. Ratko participated at many international festivals and has been booked for the major club dates at the European and American scene. Ratko has constantly made major efforts to enrich his experience with appearances and recordings. He was also performing and recording with Benny Bailey, Randy Brecker, Gary Peacock, Reggie Workman, John Pattituci, Al Foster, Steve Gadd, Antonio Sanchez, Miroslav Vitous, Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Jeff Tain Watts, Alvin Queen, Adam Nussbaum, Shawn Monteiro, Denise Jannah, Simone Zanchini , Renato Chicco, Stefano Bedetti etc.

Ratko endorses Mirabella Guitars.
Ratko endorses Godin Guitars.
Ratko uses CP-1A pickups for acoustic guitar from Carlos Juan.
Ratko received the award for authorship and artistic creation in jazz music from the Croatian Composer Society 2019.
Ratko Zjaca is nominated for best jazz guitarist in South American El Intruso New Creative Music Critics Poll Award for 2010.
The CD “Don’t try this anywhere” has won the Orpheus Award for 2016 – the best Italian production 2015 for jazz music.

Selected Discography

Ratko Zjaca Nocturnal Mission Quartet
“The Bag is Packed” – Benny Bailey Group
Ratko Zjaca Quartet live jazz festival
“A Day in Manhattan” – Ratko Zjaca, Reggie Workman, Al Foster
“Live” – Reggie Workman and Jim Cobb Sextet
“Shades of Spirit”, Fretless Guitar Project – Ratko Zjaca and Stanislav Mitrovic
“Crossing The Border” – Ratko Zjaca, Stan Mitrovic, John Pattituci, Al Foster
“Continental Talk” – Ratko Zjaca, John Patitucci, Steve Gadd, Stan Mitrovic, Randy Brecker
“The Way We Talk” – Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum, Martin Gjakonovski
“Now and Then” – Ratko Zjaca with Simone Zanchini, Miroslav Vitous, John Patitucci, Reggie Workman, Adam Nussbaum, Steve Gadd, Al Foster and others
“Beyond the Lines” – Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum, Martin Gjakonovski
“Don’t try this anywhere” – Ratko Zjaca with Simone Zanchini, John Patitucci, Adam Nussbaum and Stefano Bedetti
“Life on Earth” – Ratko Zjaca with Antonio Sanchez, Stefano Bedetti and Renato Chicco
“The places you will go” – Ratko with John Patitucci, Miroslav Vitous, Reggie Workman, John Riley, Antonio Sanchez, Adam Nussbaum, Steve Gadd, Al Foster, Simone Zanchini, Stefano Bedetti and others
“On Stage Live” – Ratko with Simone Zanchini, Adam Nussbaum and Martin Gjakonovski – coming out in 2021

Adam Nussbaum


His exceptional experience of time and style, combined with astounding improvisational ingenuity, make him one of the world most highly regarded and in-demand drummers.

Adam grew up in Norwalk, Connecticut and started to play drums at age 12 after studying piano for 5 years, also playing bass and saxophone as a teenager. He moved to New York City in 1975 to attend The Davis Center for Performing Arts at City College. While there he began working with Albert Dailey, Monty Waters, Joe Lee Wilson, Sheila Jordan and he played with Sonny Rollins in 1977 in Milwaukee.

In 1978 he joined Dave Liebman’s quintet and did his first European tour with John Scofield. During the early eighties he continued working with John Scofield in a celebrated trio with Steve Swallow. In 1983 he became a member of Gil Evans Orchestra and he played with Stan Getz as well. He later joined Eliane Elias/Randy Brecker Quartet, Gary Burton, and Toots Thielemans. In 1987 he began touring with the Michael Brecker Quintet. In 1988 they recorded the Grammy winning “Don’t Try This At Home”. During 1992 he was part of the Carla Bley Big Band and that same year John Abercrombie hired him to complete his organ trio with Dan Wall. Since then he’s keeping active in a wide variety of groups. Among them a recently formed quartet ‘B A N N’ with Seamus Blake, Jay Anderson & Oz Noy, A co-op quartet ‘NUTTREE’ with Abercrombie, Jerry Bergonzi & Gary Versace, (a new CD with this group is coming out on the Kind of Blue label), ‘We Three’ with Dave Liebman & Steve Swallow, Eliane Elias Trio, The James Moody Quartet, and also busy maintaining an active freelance schedule.

Adam has taught as an Adjunct professor at New York University, the New School and State University of New York at Purchase. He’s also doing clinics and master classes around the world.

A very versatile drummer who generally plays in advanced settings, Adam Nussbaum is considered a major asset no matter where he appears and one of the finest jazz drummers today.

Selected Discography

with John Abercrombie
Open Land – ECM
Tactics – ECM
Speak of the Devil – ECM rec. 1993
While We¹re Young – ECM rec. 1992

with Allman Brothers Band
Live Beacon Theater New York 3/14/09 – Peach Records

with Patricia Barber
Nightclub – Premonition
A Distortion of Love – Antilles

with Richie Beirach
Some Other Time – Triloka

with Chuck Bergeron
Loyalties – Gayle Force

with Anders Bergcrantz
C – Dragon
In This Together – Dragon
Live at Sweet Basil – Dragon

with Jerry Bergonzi
Tenorist – Savant
A Different Look – DoubleTime
Wiggy – DoubleTime
Lost In the Shuffle – DoubleTime
Just Within – DoubleTime
On Again – RAM
Lineage – RED
The Standard Gonz – Blue Note

with Big Band de Lausanne
Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music – TCB

with Paul Bley
If We May – Steeplechase

with Bohuslän Big Band w/ Lew Soloff
Porgy & Bess – Vara Concert Hall

with Salvatore Bonafede
Actor-Actress – Ken/Bellaphon

with Michael Brecker
The Cost Of Living – Jazzdoor (bootleg rec.)
Live – Jazzdoor (bootleg rec.)
Now You See It… (Now You Don’t) – GRP
Don’t Try This At Home – GRP/Impulse

with George Cables
I Mean You – Steeplechase

with Joey Calderazzo
In The Door – Blue Note

with Gary Campbell
Thick & Thin – DoubleTime

with Eddie Daniels
Real Time – Chesky
Nepenthe – GRP

with Marc Ducret
Le Kodo – Label Bleu

with Bill Evans
Living in The Crest of a Wave – Elektra/Musician & Wounded Bird

with Gil Evans
Live at Sweet Basil vols. 1 & 2 – Gramavision & King/Evidence

with Art Farmer & Slide Hampton
In Concert – Enja

with Hal Galper
Ivory Forest – Enja

with Herb Geller
A Jazz Song Book – Enja

with Gerardo DiLella Jazz Orchestra
Napoli & Jazz – EmarcyRecords

with Bruce Gertz
Red Handed – DoubleTime
Dicovery Zone – RAM
Third Eye – RAM
Blueprint – Freelance/Evidence

with George Gruntz
Mock-Lo-Motion – TCB
Blues¹n Dues Et Cetera – Enja
Serious Fun! – Enja
First Prize – Enja

with Tom Harrell
Visiones – Contemporary
Sail Away – Contemporary

with Vic Juris
Omega is the Alpha – Steeplechase
Blue Horizon – Zoho Music

with Lee Konitz
New York Album – Soul Note
Round and Round – MusicMasters

with Olga Konkova
Some Things From Home – Candid
Her Point Of View – Candid

with Tony Lakatos
The Music of Hoagy Carmichael – Skip Records

with Andy LaVerne
Farewell – Musidisc

with David Liebman
Monk’s Mood – Double-Time
Time Line – Owl
Homage to John Coltrane – Owl
If They Only Knew – Timeless & MCA/Impulse
Doin’ It Again – Timeless

with Rick Margitza
Color – Blue Note

with Phil Markowitz Trio
Catalysis – Sunnyside

with Ron McClure
Inspiration – Ken/Bellaphon
Tonite Only – Steeplechase
McJolt – Steeplechase

with John McLean
Easy Go – Premonition

with Jim McNeely
In This Moment – Stunt
East Coast Blow Out w/ John Scofield & WDR Big Band – Lipstick
From the Heart – Owl

with Karlheinz Miklin
Last Waltz – Acoustic Music

with James Moody/Hank Jones Quartet
Our Delight – IPO Records

with Mark Murphy
Kerouac, Then and Now – Muse

with Judy Niemack
Straight Up – Freelance

with Peter O’Mara
Mirage – Pirouet
Avenue “U” – Enja

with Jaco Pastorius
Live In New York City vol. 5 – Big World

Jiannis Pavilidis – George Kontrafouris – Adam Nussbaum
Migration – FMR Records

with Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen
To A Brother – Pladecompagniet/Sony

with Doug Raney
Blues On A Par – Steeplechase

with Mikael Råberg
Big Band – TonArt rec. 1991

with John Scofield
Out Like a Light – Enja
Shinola – Enja
Who’s Who – BMG/Novus
Bar Talk – BMG/Novus
Rough House – Enja

with Lew Soloff
Hanalei Bay – King/Electric Bird

with Mark Soskin
Around the Corner – Paddlewheel
Views From Here – Paddlewheel

with Dave Stryker
Blue to the Bone 2 – Steeplechase
Stardust – Steeplechase
Passage – Steeplechase

with Ed Summerlin
Eye to the Future – Ictus

with Steve Swallow
Damaged In Transit – X-tra WATT
Always Pack Your Uniform On Top – X-tra WATT
Deconstructed – X-tra WATT

Playing In Traffic – Auand

Tessarolo – Fassi – Dalla Porta – Nussbaum
Bemsha – Splasc(h)

with ‘Toots’ Thielemans
The Live Takes – Quetzal/-Narada Jazz

with Frank Tiberi
Tiberian Mode – NY JAM

with Hans Ulrik
Day After Day – Storyville

with Sigurd Ulveseth
I Wish I Knew – Taurus
Infant Eyes – Taurus
To Wisdom, The Prize – Taurus

with Tom Varner
Motion/Stillness – Soul Note

with Gary Versaces
Reminiscence – Steeplechase

with Miroslav Vitous
Universal Syncopations 2 – ECM

with Dan Wall
Off The Wall – Enja

with Bobby Watson
Advance – Enja

with Peter Weniger
Key of the Moment – Mons

with Torben Westergaard
What I Miss – Olufsen

with Jack Wilkins
Artwork – Koch

with Dave Wilson
Spiral – Summit Records

with Glenn Wilson
Elusive – Sunnyside
Impasse – Cadence

with Jens Winther
The Escape w/ the WDR Big Band – Dacapo

with Simone Zanchini & Ratko Zjaca
The way we talk – In + Out Records
Beyond the lines – In + Out Records

with Tom Harrell & Joe Lovano – RCA Victor/BMG
A Jazz Christmas

Martin Gjakonovski

Born in Skopje, Macedonia in a family of jazz musicians. His father was the founder and conducter of the macedonian Jazz Radio Big Band and his mother a jazz vocalist. Martin started playing classical double-bass at the age of 14, but soon his passion for jazz awoke and resulted with the founding of his first band, Trio Spato.

The opening door to the international jazz scene was a jazz workshop with the Coltrane bassplayer Reggie Workman in Groznjan, Croatia (1990).

In 1991 he moved to Cologne, Germany studying jazz bass at the Music Academy of Cologne.

He also learned from other great bassplayers such as Arild Andersen, John Clayton, Mike Richmond and Eddie Gomez.

In the coming years he became one of the busiest and most versatile bassists in Germany playing with such musicians as: Dusko Goykovich, Paul Shigihara, Ferenc Snetberger, David Friedman, Lee Konitz, Atilla Zoller, Don Friedman, Pete Yellin, Matt Wilson, Tony Lakatos, Ingrid Jensen, Andy Middleton, Kenny Wheeler, Kenny Werner, Charlie Mariano, Greg Hopkins, Don Menza etc.

In the last 10 years he worked and is still playing with Michael Sagmeister Trio, Dusko Goykovich Quintet, Nicolas Simion Group, Antonio Faraò Trio (feat. Bob Berg, Sonny Fortune, Rick Margitza, Gene Jackson), Lynne Arriale Trio (feat. Benny Golson, Steve Davis), Paul Kuhn Trio (feat. Toots Thielemans, Ack Van Rooyen, Jiggs Whigham), Bojan Z Expatriots, Paul Shigihara Group (feat. Mokhtar Samba), Frankfurt Jazz Trio and many others.

He has recorded more than 100 jazz and world music CDs.

Selected Discography

Encore, Cam Jazz 2004, Antonio Faraò Trio
Far Out, Cam Jazz 2003, Antonio Faraò Trio
Nightlight (CD, Album), Double Moon Records, 2002
Samba Do Mar (CD, Album), Enja Records, 2003
Samba Tzigane (CD, Album) Enja Records, 2006
Better Times Ahead (CD, Album), Double Moon Records, 2006
At Work (CD, Album), Konnex Records, 2008
Summit Octet (Five Horns & Rhythm Unit) (CD, Album), B92, 2009
Ratko Zjaca, Simone Zanchini – The Way We Talk (CD, Album), In + Out Records, 2010
Duško Gojković & Soul Connection Big Band – Balkan Project (CD, Album), B92, 2010
Poesiealbum (CD, Album), Neuklang, 2011
Wise Guys – Zwei Welten – Instrumentiert (CD, Album), Polydor, 2012
Beyond the lines – ZZ quartet ( CD) In + Out Records, 2012