The third edition of our summer Video Journal Czech Center New York, moderated by Anna Kotyzová. This time with Czech musician Karel Růžička Jr., interviewed by Ronald Prokeš
Czech Center New York has opened a new chapter of our online programing in New York City. While following all Covid pandemic guidelines, we are fulfilling our chief goal: to promote Czech culture in the U.S. and across North America.
The guest of the third edition of Video Journal is a Czech artist who opted to stay in the city in spite of the pandemic and what’s turned out to be a very hot summer. Although even jazz clubs are closed and music is hard to come by, he continues to work and stay optimistic about the city which is home to some of the most talented musicians in the United States.
His name is Karel Růžička Jr., a saxophonist who has won with many awards here in the U.S. as well as in the Czech Republic.
Saxophonist and composer Karel Ruzicka has developed a singular creative voice that arose from the many pivotal experiences of his life as a jazz artist. In the early nineties, a young Karel developed a successful career as a jazz saxophone and composer in Prague and he quickly became an in demand sideman and studio musician. From the beginning, he had a singular goal to join his heroes in America. That vision became a reality when in 1994, Karel paid a brief visit to New York City where he jammed in at Smalls and many other venues and where he met the trumpet great Roy Hargrove.
Ruzicka permanently relocated to NYC in the spring of 1997 and his debut album "You Know What I Mean" which he released a few months later was nominated for a Czech Grammy. His second album “Spring Rolls Quartet” (1999) was awarded Czech Jazz Recording of the Decade. In 2004, Ruzicka released his third album “Brooklyn Moods”, which was also nominated for a Golden Angel Award (Czech Grammy). In 2010, he teamed up with Ondre J Pivec (organ) and Russell Carter (drums) to form the CPR Electrio. Their debut album was released in 2013 and reveals a deeply creative exploration of groove-based modern jazz and was also nominated for the jazz album of the year. In October 2018, Karel released his new quartet recording "Grace and Gratitude" with Jon Cowherd on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Nate Smith on drums, for which he was also nominated for the Jazz Album of the Year at the Golden Angel Awards.
Besides performing with his trio and quartet on both sides of the Atlantic and various groups led by his peers in New York, Karel is also a guest artist at the Jazz at Lincoln Center and performs in the worship team at the Times Square Church. During his career, Ruzicka has also performed as a sideman with many other legendary musicians on the global scene: George Benson, Dean Brown, Hiram Bullock, Mike Stern, Joe Locke, Bob Mintzer, Ravi Coltrane, Brian Charette, Jon Cowherd, James Genus, Photo credit: Karel Růžička Jr. Archive John Patitucci, Arturo Sandoval, Nate Smith, Benny Rietveld, Ben E. King, Miroslav Vitous, Ronnie Burrage, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Fred Wesley, Kennedy Administration, Reggie Young, and this list is steadily growing...
Interview in the Central Park, Ronald Prokeš with Karel Růžička Jr.
Photo: Miroslav Konvalina
|Check out the talented saxophone player Karel Růžička Jr. with Ondřej Pivec at their Oakland concert at the Piedmont Piano Company|
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This program is sponsored by Trebitsch Whisky, first Czech single malt whisky in the US.