At 77 years outdated, this Thursday, September 16 Czech double bass participant George Mraz died in New York, a proficient musician with an unlimited trajectory throughout which he performed with most of the main names in fashionable jazz corresponding to Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Tommy Flanagan and McCoy Tyner.
He additionally shared phases and recordings with Joe Lovano, Clark Terry, Carmen McRae, Invoice Evans, Oscar Peterson, John Abercrombie and the Thad Jones / Mel Lewis orchestra amongst others.
The information was made identified by his spouse, the pianist Camilla Mraz, by social networks with out clarifying the explanations for his loss of life. Lately, Mraz had shaped a trio together with her and drummer Anthony Pinciotti to make unique music.
The perfect sideman
Influenced by double bassists corresponding to Joe LaFaro and Ray Brown, Mraz was an artist of beautiful poise, excellent for his lyrical tone, but at all times topic to excellent rhythmic capability. Mraz was a super sideman, his thick but gentle tone made him a sought-after musician by his friends.
He recorded greater than sixty albums in numerous teams; 5 as a member of the New York Jazz Quartet and ten as a pacesetter; amongst them, Botton Strains (1997), with Cyrus Chestnut, Al Foster and Wealthy Perry, and Duke’s Place, with Renne Rosnes and Billy Drummond. The pianist Richie Beirach stated about Mraz: “He plays his instrument as if he had invented it.”
Concerning his model, producer Todd Barkan identified that “even when he does a strolling bass your selection of notes is so excellent, so emotionally acceptable, that it finally ends up sounding like he is telling a narrative behind the soloist. “
A jazz fan in Bohemia
Mraz was born on September 9, 1944, in Pisek, Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, immediately the Czech Republic. He started finding out the violin on the age of seven and shortly switched to the double bass; graduated from the Prague Conservatory in 1966.
For this epoch, Mraz was already utterly inclined as a musician to jazz. “At the age of 12 I first heard Louis Armstrong; It was a Sunday and Armstrong appeared on the radio between light operettas playing and singing. My impression was capital. How can anyone sing like that? That’s where it all started for me, ”he stated.
Within the ’50s and’ 60s, solely The Voice Of America he performed jazz at midnight. “My radio equipment was pretty bad and I couldn’t clearly distinguish what the double bass players were playing, but this way I got to know what Scott LaFaro, Ray Brown, Ron Carter and Paul Chambers were doing, four musicians who influenced my approach to music. ”, He admitted.
After a stint on the Munich jazz circuit, in 1968 Mraz moved to Boston, having received a scholarship to review on the Berklee Faculty of Music, and from there constructed an vital creative profession. In 1969 he obtained a name from Gillespie to hitch his group.or with whom he spent a short while to go on tour, then with the Oscar Peterson trio with whom he spent two years.
His measured, improvisational impressed model and foolproof ductility made him within the ’70s and’ 80s a sought-after artist for vital initiatives, corresponding to Instructions In Music, with Hancock, Michael Brecker and Roy Hargrove, or Grand slam, with Jim Corridor, Joe Lovano and Lewis Nash.
Lately, he had determined to maneuver in a trio with a repertoire of unique music together with his spouse and Pinciotti, however for a while he had suffered from a deteriorating well being state of affairs that pressured him to go away the stage.