(pronounced Rah-lay Mee-cheech)
Publicity: Jazz Journal, All About Jazz, Neon Jazz, Making A Scene Magazine, Jazz Square, City Guide NY, O’s Place Jazz Newsletter,The New York City Jazz Record,WTJU, Midwest book Review, JazzWeekly, All About Jazz, Midwest Record, Paste
Radio: New World n Jazz
Photos: NYCStreet by Josephine Solimene, black&white by K.Hatt, b&w by K. Hatt
Mixed Media Client since: 2016
“Rale Micic brings a unique voice to jazz guitar with his new album “Only Love Will Stay”. Rale’s great compositions retain some of his Serbian roots and his melodic playing is a joy to listen to along with the great Jared Gold on organ, and drummers, Geoff Clapp and Johnathan Blake. Thanks for the beautiful music Rale!”
“I’ve known Rale Micic for more than a decade. We’ve had the opportunity to play, and record with artists such as Tom Harrell, and Dayna Stephens, but I feel like I really got to know Rale when I began playing his original music. Rale’s personality shines through in his compositions. You hear the rhythmic, and melodic influences of his home country of Serbia, and you also hear the influences of his time living in the US. It’s been an absolute joy to get inside the mind of Rale and see, and hear his growth as a guitarist, improviser, and composer.”
I actually sought after to play with Rale Micic. Since meeting him not only is one of my dearest friends but one of my musical heroes as well to this day. His composition “The World Doesn’t End” caught my ear years ago and I’ve been a fan ever sense. Being able to perform and especially record with Rale has been nothing but an honor and musical journey. One can hear and feel the beautiful spirit in everything he plays.
Rale is a unique voice on the guitar. He combines a very melodic approach with an intricate knowledge of harmonies. His original compositions reflect his life experience and tell the listener a story of his heritage. It was a pleasure to be involved in this diverse and groove based project.
O’s Place Jazz Magazine
P.O. Box 38430
Charlotte, NC 28278
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Only Love Will Stay
Whaling City Sound
Organ trios generally take the soul-jazz path, to the point where such a configuration is too easily stereotyped. Guitarist Rale Micic will argue that he still brings plenty of soul in this quartet setting, Slavic soul that is. As such, it is a refreshingly different sound that most associate with the guitar-organ- drum combo. They lay down a mix of original sounds and those inspired by guitarist John Abercrombie’s recordings with organ. Micic did play and record with Abercrombie before he passed away, citing Abercrombie’s song “Even Steven” which appears here as a tribute to him.
Micic has stellar company. B3 organist Jared Gold, a longtime fixture in Dave Stryker’s bands is aboard along with one of the most in-demand drummers in jazz, Johnathan Blake on five of the eight selections with New Orleans drummer Geoff Clapp on the other three. The accompanists have played together in previous settings and/or recordings but this marks the first time Mimic played with Gold.
The solemn title track opens, setting the tone for the album as Micic claims was mostly inspired by the pandemic in terms of love and loss. Yet this tune gets some spark from Gold who takes dazzling runs across the keys in contrast to the leader’s thoughtful slower paced array of notes. For his part, Clapp delivers a propulsive undercurrent with a few flurries around the traps. Clapp brought the idea of a bossa nova treatment to the standard “How Deep Is the Ocean” as you hear his brushes subtly accompanying Mimic’s archtop guitar’s statement of the melody while Gold comps and delivers the bass lines. “Savas,” the final Clapp tune, is filled with dynamic changes and some stirring intense interplay between all three members, with both the leader and Gold soaring at times while Clapp maintains his dynamic presence. It is especially meaningful to MIcic as it is the name of both his father and son.
The Abercrombie piece, “Even Steven” is one of the more animated tunes, featuring Blake and some of Micic’s most melodic playing as Gold hits some strong chords and then takes his own inspired flight. “Better Days Ahead” begins calmly and keeps building, propelled largely by Blake’s insistent beats bursts, especially during Gold’s excursion. Micic plays with remarkable tone, precision, and his own unique Slavic feel which typically involves minor keys. “January” slides back down several notches into almost a requiem-like hymn. “Riverdale,” named for the section in the northern Bronx where Micic and his wife now reside, finds a nice balance between tender and New York style upbeat, complete with some Blake explosiveness on the kit.
The lush closer, “Lipe Cvatu (Linden Trees Are in Bloom) sounds differentiated form the others as it’s in 7/8 time and was not written by Micic but by Sarajevo national icon Goran Bregovic for his rock band, Bijelo Dugme. Apparently 7/8 time is a Balkan staple but Micic and the trio take what was a popular party song for the leader growing up in the ‘80s and transformed it into a more subdued form in a different arrangement. Given its Balkan ties, this tune may best represent the notion of “Slavic soul,” as the guitar lines could easily be interpreted as a cousin to the blues.
One listen to Micic’s approach will have you questioning the organ trio stereotype and embracing this project as something refreshingly different and as inspiring, perhaps even more so.
RALE MICIC TRIO: ALBUM RELEASE “ONLY LOVE WILL STAY”
Thursday, May 20, 7:00PM
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Jazz guitarist and composer Rale Micic has followed a path characteristic of many European jazzmen who settled in the United States. A native of Belgrade, Micic (born 1975), having already acquired a good jazz reputation in his native Serbia, went to Boston in 1995 to study at the famous Berklee College. Among his teachers there were such famous personalities as George Garzone and Bob Brookmeyer. In 2000, Micic moved to New York and over the years has become a prominent figure in the jazz scene of the Big Apple. Rale released his first album, Bridges, three years later, offering listeners a mixture of jazz with Balkan music. And already during the recording of the second album ,Serbia, Micic was helped by such a prominent master as the trumpet player Tom Harell. Micic played in his ensemble, worked with Greg Hutchinson, Don Friedman, Eric Alexander.
Today we present his new work Only Love Will Stay, Micic’s second album for Whaling City Sound. To create it, Rale chose the chamber format of a jazz trio, and without a bassist. His guitar voice is assisted only by the Hammond organ, with the famous Jared Gold and drums (Johnathan Blake and Geoff Klapp) sitting at the keys. The album was made up of recordings of two sessions, in the fall of 2019 and in the summer of 2020, hence the line-up and two drummers, each of whom worked in one of the sessions.
Of the eight compositions that made up the album’s program, five are the author’s music by Rale Micic. Covers here are his interpretations of Even Steven by John Abercrombie (symptomatic: many compare Micic’s playing style with Abercrombie, and, as he himself says, John’s organ groups served as a model for this project), Irwin Berlin’s classic “How Deep Is The Ocean” and “Lipe Cvatu (Linden Trees Are In Bloom)” by fellow countryman, Serbian composer Goran Bregovic. This, however, does not limit the connection with the homeland in this project. Micic’s opening and title track “Only Love Will Stay” also contains echoes of Balkan music. It seems to me that it was no coincidence that this piece gave the name to the entire album. Very beautiful, warm, a little sad melody, soulful sound of a guitar, delicate organ reprise – for me it became a personal favorite of the album. A brief and aphoristic assessment of the entire project was given by Micic’s partner Jared Gold: “In playing the guitar, Rale has a unique voice. He combines a very melodic approach with a keen knowledge of harmonies. His original compositions reflect his life experience and tell the listener about his roots …” It’s hard to disagree.
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5/22 INSPIRED album release featuring Peter Bernstein, Rale Micic, Lage Lund, Vic Juris at BLUE NOTE at 8p & 10:30p
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GUITARIST / COMPOSER
WHALING CITY SOUND RECORDING ARTIST
“Micic is bringing an intriguing new perspective to the jazz guitar.” – LA TIMES
”Micic is subtle, intelligent player who echoes the likes of Jim Hall.” – DOWNBEAT
“The New York jazz scene, and by extension jazz’s modern mainstream, has Rale Micic to thank for a portion of its continued growth.” – ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“Rale Micic is one of my favorite guitar players on the scene today. He has a beautiful sound and lyricism that truly set him apart.” – PETER BERNSTEIN
“Rale is a soulful and thoughtful player” – TOM HARRELL
“Rale Micic has firmly established himself as one of the top guitarists in jazz today. I’ve enjoyed his playing both while sharing the bandstand with him and as a fan. He’s got great melodic awareness, a strong rhythmic concept, and a feeling for the blues that show he has studied the greats on his instrument while forging a singular style of his own. I’m excited to hear this new recording! “ – ERIC ALEXANDER
“Micic is bringing an intriguing new perspective to the jazz guitar.” LA TIMES
Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, guitarist and composer Rale Micic (pron. Rah-Leh Mee-chee-ch) skillfully fuses culture with timeless jazz.
Rale Micic is a CTA Records recording artist and has been featured in numerous publications including Downbeat, JazzTimes, LA Times, San Diego Tribune, Boston Globe, etc. He has performed at prominent jazz clubs and music festivals in US and Europe including Catalina Jazz Club, Blues Alley, Village Vanguard, Scullers Jazz Club, Dizzy’s, San Jose Jazz Festival, Hartford International Jazz Festival, etc.
Rale Micic recently signed an endorsement deal with D’Addario strings, joining the likes of guitarists Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Lenny Kravitz.
Photo by Josephine Solimene
6.10 Rale Micic & Peter Bernstein Duo — Guitar X2 Series, Bar Thalia at Symphony Space, New York, 9pm
6.17 Rale Micic & Lage Lund — Guitar X2 Series, Bar Thalia at Symphony Space, New York, 9pm
6.25 Rale Micic Trio, Bar Next Door, New York, 7:30pm
7.8 Rale Micic & Sheryl Bailey — Guitar X2 Series, Bar Thalia at Symphony Space, New York, 9pm