“"Karel Ruzicka is an important saxophonist of his generation. I urge you to check him out."”
— Steve Wilson - Saxophonist/Composer
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 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. He made quite an impression and in 1996 he performed in Prague with Roy's Quintet.
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” with Bruce Barth on piano, George Mraz on bass and Brandon Lewis on drums, which was also nominated for a Czech Grammy. In 2010 he has 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. The album was nominated for the Golden Angel award (CzechGrammy) in 2019.
Since summer of 2007 Karel is touring worldwide with the legendary jazz singer songwriter Michael Franks. Karel is featured on Michael's latest CD "Music In My Head".
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, John Patitucci, Arturo Sandoval, Nate Smith, Benny Rietveld, Ben E. King, Miroslav Vitous, Ronnie Burrage, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Fred Wesley, Kennedy Administration, Reggie Young, Rachel Z, and this list is steadily growing...