rec. Jan 25, 1994
As a teenager in Prague, Rudy Linka committedly studied classical guitar before taking up jazz lessons with an omnipresent musician and teacher, the late Karel Velebny who honored him with first opportunities to perform. In 1981 Rudy Linka crossed borders when bassist Red Mitchell recommended the promising young guitar player for a Jim Hall fellowship at Boston's famous Berklee School of Music. In the following year, he moved to New York and soon became John Abercrombie's student - and fellow guitarist on the album "Mostly Standards" of 1992.
When in 1993 the fourth album under Rudy's own name was released, it was clear that he already had enriched the language of jazz guitar playing with one of the most mature, flawless and diplomatic voices on this instrument. Down Beat's Bill Milkowski wrote: "Rudy's playing is first-rate, reflecting the finesse and harmonic sophistication of his hero Jim Hall while also possessing the fire and conviction of a young man eager to tell his own story." And Cadence read: "A more confident improviser would be hard to find." Rudy Linka plays everything from classical nylon-string to synth, yet his true love is the playing without gags and gimmicks, electronics, overdubs, or rocky trebles - just the clear, round sound that comes out of the heritage of modern jazz guitar.
For his first ENJA release Rudy chose two much-admired accompanists who fit it in perfectly with his musical concept. Fellow-countryman George Mraz, a US citizen since 1973, has been a brilliant sideman on innumerable recordings by such masters as Elvin Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Oscar Peterson, Stephane Grappelli, Carmen McRae, Phil Woods, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, or Art Pepper, and is maybe best known for his long-time association with pianist Tommy Flanagan. Marvin "Smitty" Smith has been one of the most demanded jazz drummers in recent years, having recorded with Archie Shepp, Art Farmer, Bobby Watson, Branford Marsalis, Dave Holland, Donald Byrd, Sonny Rollins, Steve Coleman, and many others. In this classic and unsurpassed trio setting with just bass and drums Rudy Linka ennobles a tradition that was started almost four decades ago by the "Poll Winners" Barney Kessel, Ray Brown, and Shelly Manne.
AUDIO: CD of the month (Feb 1995). *****
JAZZ JOURNAL: a straight-ahead bop-oriented player.
JAZZ TIMES: Intimacy and thoughtfulness are his trademarks.
Some other recordings by