|Birth name||Miroslav Ladislav Vitouš|
6 December 1947 |
|Genres||Jazz, jazz fusion, funk|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, bassist|
|Instruments||Bass guitar, double bass, piano, keyboards, violin|
|Associated acts||Weather Report, Miroslav Philharmonik Review|
|Fender Jazz Bass, Double bass|
Born in Prague, he began the violin at age six, and started playing the piano at age ten, and bass at fourteen. As a young man in Europe, Vitouš was a competitive swimmer. One of his early music groups was the Junior Trio with his brother Alan on drums and fellow Czech luminary-to-be Jan Hammer on keyboards. He studied music at the Prague Conservatory (under František Pošta), subsequently winning an international music contest in Vienna, earning him a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Vitouš's virtuoso jazz bass playing has led critics[who?]to place him in the same league as Scott LaFaro, Dave Holland, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen and Arild Andersen. A representative example of Vitouš's double bass playing is Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1968), with Chick Corea on piano and Roy Haynes on drums. This album shows his strong rhythmic sense, innovative walking lines, and intensity and abandon as an improviser.
His first album as a leader, Infinite Search, re-released with minor changes as Mountain in the Clouds, featured several key figures from the then-budding jazz fusion movement: John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette, and Joe Henderson.
In 1970 he was a founding member of the group Weather Report. In 1973 he was replaced by Alphonso Johnson and compensated as a founding member. Vitouš has since discussed his contentious departure from Weather Report with journalists, specifically regarding his relationship with Zawinul. He stated "I enjoyed the beginning of it very much, but it turned into a little bit of a drag in the end because Joe Zawinul wanted to go in another direction. The band was seeking success and fame and they basically changed their music to go a commercial way into a Black funk thing". He also felt aggrieved financially - "I was an equal partner and basically, I didn’t get anything. We had a corporation together that was completely ignored. If you have a company and three people own it, and then two people say “Okay, we don’t want to work like this anymore. It’s just two of us now,” normally, they break down the stock and pay off the third person"
In 1981 he performed at the Woodstock Jazz Festival, held in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Creative Music Studio. In 1984 he collaborated with Stanley Clarke. In 1988 Vitouš moved back to Europe to focus on composing, but nonetheless continued to perform in festivals.
In 2001, Vitouš reunited with Corea and Haynes (as the Now He Sings, Now He Sobs trio) for a concert in a series entitled "Rendezvous in New York" in celebration of Corea's 60th birthday. The album of the same name came out in 2003, and earned Corea a Grammy Award for Best Improvised Jazz Solo on the composition "Matrix", on which Vitouš played.
Photos: Hreinn Gudlaugsson
- 1969: Infinite Search (aka Mountain in the Clouds) (Embryo Records) with John McLaughlin, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette & Joe Chambers
- 1970: Purple with John McLaughlin, Joe Zawinul & Billy Cobham
- 1976: Magical Shepherd with Onike, Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette, James Gadson & Airto Moreira
- 1976: Majesty Music with Jaroslav Jakubovič
- 1977: Miroslav (Freedom) with Don Alias
- 1978: Guardian Angels with Mabumi Yamaguchi, John Scofield, Kenny Kirkland & George Ohtsuke
- 1979: First Meeting (ECM) with John Surman, Kenny Kirkland & Jon Christensen
- 1980: Miroslav Vitous Group (ECM) with John Surman, Kenny Kirkland & Jon Christensen
- 1982: Journey's End (ECM) with John Surman, John Taylor & Jon Christensen
- 1985: Emergence (ECM) solo
- 1992: Atmos (ECM) with Jan Garbarek
- 2003: Universal Syncopations (ECM) with Jan Garbarek, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin & Jack DeJohnette
- 2007: Universal Syncopations II (ECM) with Bob Mintzer, Gary Campbell, Bob Malach, Randy Brecker, Daniele di Bonaventura, Vesna Vasko-Caceres, Gerald Cleaver & Adam Nussbaum
- 2009: Remembering Weather Report (ECM) with Franco Ambrosetti, Gary Campbell, Gerald Cleaver & Michel Portal
With Weather Report
- Weather Report (1971)
- I Sing the Body Electric (1972)
- Live in Tokyo (1972)
- Sweetnighter (1973)
- Mysterious Traveller (1974)
With Chick Corea
- Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (1968)
- Trio Music (ECM, 1981)
- Trio Music Live in Europe (ECM, 1984)
- Rendezvous in New York (Stretch Records, 2003)
With Larry Coryell
- Spaces (1970) with John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham & Chick Corea
- Dedicated to Bill Evans and Scott LaFaro (1987)
With Jack DeJohnette
- The DeJohnette Complex (Milestone, 1969)
With Jan Garbarek
- StAR (ECM, 1991)
With Stan Getz
- The Song Is You (1969)
With Terje Rypdal
With Sadao Watanabe
- Round Trip (1974)
With Laszlo Gardony
- The Secret (Antilles, 1988)
With Between the Times
- Octagon (ACT, 2007)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Miroslav Vitous.|
- Jung, Fred (10 October 2003). "A Fireside Chat With Miroslav Vitous". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- Olsen, Paul (7 January 2008). "Miroslav Vitous: It Comes Down to Taste". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- "ECM". ecmrecords.com. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
- Prasad, Prasad. "Miroslav Vitous - Freeing the muse by Anil". http://www.innerviews.org/inner/vitous.html. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
- 1984 Sydney Town Hall, producer Ian Davis (ABC radio)
- "Past Winners Search". Grammy.com. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- Official homepage
- Miroslav Vitouš MySpace site
- Miroslav Vitous Discography 1964–74
- Miroslav Vitouš video interview at Allaboutjazz.com
- Conversation With Miroslav Vitous, 8/01/2009
- "Agitation", with Stanley Clarke