FreeWheelin' Music Safari

The Safari Starts with Anke Helfrich’s Birthday and my ADD Leads Me to New Jazz!!


 Ok so the Safari tonight started with a search for some jazz musicians born on the. The first name that caught my eye was right at the top of the list at the birthday list at All About Jazz – Anke Helfrich  a German pianist and, composer of modern jazz .

 Helfrich grew up in Windhoek ( Namibia ) and Weinheim , where she took piano lessons. After initial successes as a national award winner at ” Youth jazzes “(1987) she studied in Freiburg and from 1989 on the” Amsterdamse Hooge School voor de Kunsten “inHilversum at Elkerbout Henk and Rob Madna . Due to their excellent statements she received a scholarship that her additional private studies with Kenny Barron and Larry Goldingsin New York allowed. Upon her return in 1996 she formed a trio with John Weidenmüller and Jochen Rueckert . In 2000 they released their first CD “You’ll see” with guest soloistMark Turner . From 2002 played Martin Gjakonovski and Dejan Terzic in her trio, with whom she was on tour internationally and has performed at numerous festivals. Along withRoy Hargrove , the Anke Helfrich Trio, took the CD Better Times Ahead on. In January 2009, their CD was released Stormproof (with Henning Sieverts , Dejan Terzic and Nils Wogram ) on Enja Records.

I made a quick stop at YouTube and listed to some of her music – “Stormproof”  from the album of the same name!  Her music sounded a little too avant-garde for my pedestrian taste, so I moved on  the next name that intrigued me on the All About Jazz birthday list, which was Jussi Reijonen,  From All About Jazz



Born in Rovaniemi, a small town on the Arctic Circle in northern Finland, fretted/fretless guitarist and oudist Jussi Reijonen is truly the product of a world with few frontiers. Having grown up moving back and forth between Finnish Lapland, the Middle East, and East Africa, and currently living in Boston MA, USA, Jussi has spent his life soaking up the sounds, scents and shades o Mf Nordic, Middle Eastern, African, and now American culture, which are all reflected in his music. More



So I took a second trip to YouTube, after listening to a little of Jussi’s 2013 release Un at MOG, and watched Jurri perform the song  “Toumani (Blues for Mick)” which appears on Un. Again good, but it will take some getting used to.

So it was back to Anke Helfrich and the “Stormproof” video – while there, I saw on the sidebar – Ratko Zjaca with organ trio – Four on Six – Tribute to Wes Montgomery. Now this video has a couple of things going for it – first an organ trio and then Wes Montgomery! So I quickly flipped to the video and watched  here. All right now we ARE cooking!! Off to his website where I read …….

Ratko Zjaca 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 has performed and recorded with many leading world American and European musicians. Read More


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

off to Wikipedia where I read …..Ratko Zjaca is a Croatian jazz guitarist. That’s it!! There;s a discography and a link back to All About Jazz…

After completing his study at the Rotterdam Conservatory where he studied jazz guitar, composition and Indian classical music, he also studied at New York University School of Music. He started to work with own group and with American trumpet veteran Benny Bailey group. 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, Gary Peacock, Reggie Workman, John Patitucci, Al Foster, Jimmy Cobb, Steve Gadd, Alvin Queen, Ron Carter, Randy Brecker, Miroslav Vitous, Adam Nussbaum, Shawnn Monteiro, Denise Jannah etc. Read More

Ratko certainly seems like a musician that I need to check out more thoroughly.

When I was on the video for Ratko and Four to Six I saw on the sidebar this video….  David Reinhardt Trio – Four On six certainly the artist’s  last name sounds familiar…. I listened to the video was impressed by both David and the organist (big surprise!) Another pleasant surprise came when at Jazz Times I read:

Playing against expectations, given that his grandfather was the one and only Django Reinhardt, the 26-year-old guitarist David Reinhardt pursues a modern direction more informed by bebop, bossa nova, funk and fusion than by the Hot Club of France. With Hammond B3 organist Florent Gac and drummer Yoann Serra in tow, he opens with a gentle fingerstyle ballad, “Lady,” before segueing into the edgy B3 burner “XV,” which carries a hint of the original Tony Williams Lifetime trio. Read moreene

and then an a review at Amazon I read

David first performed on stage at just six years of age, playing alongside his father at the 1993 Django d’Or concert, Europe’s jazz version of the Grammys. By 2004, he was sharing the stage with fellow Romany jazzman Biréli Lagrène’s Gipsy Project concerts series in Vienna in 2004. Young, shy, and obviously nervous, David played a tentative version of the chorus of his grandfather’s “Nuages,” visibly relieved when Lagrène took over with a solo. It was perhaps the poorest song selection possible, as the Gypsy jazz world seems to measure players on their improvisations of the over-played anthem. And to bring the stress almost to the level of duress, David was sharing the bill with an all-star lineup including Dorado Schmitt, Stochelo Rosenberg, Tchavolo Schmitt, Angelo Debarre, Serge Krief–the list goes on.

David and his trio certainly will be checked out!. I’m all set to go to MOG and download his 2011 album Columbe. For now here’s David and his trio and “Four to Six” Oh and Happy Birthday Anke Helfrich and  Jussi Reijonen researching your music coupled with my ADD led me on a very interesting Musical Safari tonight and lead me to a lot of music to check out!!!