“He’s not afraid of starkness or silence, and he knows how to spin a good yarn. He’s a natural… [Solo, Volume I] gives the sense of an intensely thoughtful design…The sound, mixed and mastered by Marc Bartholomew, is pristine enough that you hear Mr. Blotnick’s fingertips lightly scudding across the strings. And the atmosphere is such that every liberty registers as both audacious and reasonable.”
-Nate Chinen, New York Times
Guitarist Ryan Blotnick has been called “a vital contemporary voice” by Time Out New York, “an authentic, compelling player” by Cadence Magazine, and has garnered praise from guitarists John Abercrombie, Steve Cardenas and Ben Monder. Deeply rooted in the jazz tradition, but always listening for new sounds and trends in improvised music, Ryan has drawn together the American and European jazz scenes, playing regularly with musicians from Denmark, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Canada and England. His debut album “Music Needs You” was recorded in Spain with Brooklyn saxophonist Pete Robbins, Spanish pianist Albert Sanz and Barcelona-based drummer Joe Smith. His follow-up release “Everything Forgets” for Songlines featured drum master Jeff Williams (of Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, etc.), Joachim Badenhorst (of the Han Bennink Trio), and the Irish bassist Simon Jermyn, as well as a trio with Joe Smith and Perry Wortman. His forthcoming release “Solo Guitar, Volume I” incorporates elements of jazz, classical guitar, folk and Americana into an improvisatory tone-collage.
Ryan Blotnick first appeared in New York in 2004 as what he calls a “reverse exchange student” from the Rytmisk Musikkonservatorium in Copenhagen, becoming the first American to complete the Danish graduate program. His association with the school in Denmark between 2002 and 2006 allowed him to form relationships with some very unique European musicians and study in New York with Steve Cardenas, Lionel Loueke, Ben Street, Lee Konitz and others. Since graduating Blotnick has performed in New york, Ireland, England, Germany, Sweden, the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, and extensively in Northern Spain.
Born in Alfred, Maine, April 30th, 1983, Ryan started playing guitar at age eight. He attended Maine Jazz Camp in middle school and left high school when he was sixteen to study music at William Paterson University. There he played with classmates Ned Ferm, Sam Barsh, Mark Guiliana and Tyshawn Sorey, and studied with Paul Meyers and Gene Bertoncini. Dropping out of school to join Maine-based rock band the Rustic Overtones led Ryan away from the New York scene, but gave him the freedom to travel and explore Europe. While living in Copenhagen, he found himself more and more often in the position of leader, and became increasingly interested in composition. There he composed pieces for film, modern dance and recorded music for woodwinds, brass and rhythm section.
Since moving to New York, Blotnick has led a quartet with Jonathan Rossman, a septet with Tyshawn Sorey and Thomas Morgan, a quintet with Albert Sanz and Bill McHenry, a trio with RJ Miller and Chris Higgins, and various other projects. As a sideman he has worked with Pete Robbins & Centric, Michael Blake’s Free Association, The Leif Arntzen Band, The Michael Blake Band, The Ghost of Arthur James, Tyshawn Sorey’s Oblique, Mads Mouritz and the Bleeding Hearts, The Allison/Blake Morphestra, James Ilgenfritz’ Anagram Ensemble, and the Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble. He has played in various configurations with Nigel Hall, Steven Bernstein, Ben Street, Kresten Osgood, Kenny Wollesen, Marcus Rojas, Michael Attias, Gerald Cleaver, Avishai Cohen, Dan Weiss, Jeff Williams, Lee Konitz and others.