Miroslav Vitouš

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Miroslav Vitouš
Miroslav Vitouš.jpg
Vitouš in 2014
Background information
Birth nameMiroslav Ladislav Vitouš
Born (1947-12-06) 6 December 1947 (age 70)
Prague, Czechoslovakia
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, funk
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsDouble bass, bass guitar
Years active1962–present
LabelsFreedom Records
Associated actsWeather Report, Miroslav Philharmonik Review

Miroslav Ladislav Vitouš (born 6 December 1947) is a Czech jazz bassist who has had an extensive career in the US.


Born in Prague, he began the violin at age six,[1] 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),[2] subsequently winning an international music contest in Vienna, earning him a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.[1]

In 1967, in Chicago, Miles Davis saw Vitous playing with Clark Terry and invited him to join his group for a residency at New York’s The Village Gate.[3]

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,[1] 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.

He has worked with Larry Coryell, Jan Hammer, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal and Michel Petrucciani.

In 1970 he was a founding member of the group Weather Report.[1] In 1973 he was replaced by Alphonso Johnson and compensated[citation needed] 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".[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Weather Report

With Franco Ambrosetti

With Roy Ayers

With Chick Corea

With Larry Coryell

With Jack DeJohnette

With Jan Garbarek

With Stan Getz

With Herbie Mann

With Terje Rypdal

With Sadao Watanabe

With Laszlo Gardony

With Between the Times

  • Octagon (ACT, 2007)

With Polajka, Nikolaj Nikitin ensemble


  1. ^ a b c d Jung, Fred (10 October 2003). "A Fireside Chat With Miroslav Vitous". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  2. ^ Olsen, Paul (7 January 2008). "Miroslav Vitous: It Comes Down to Taste". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  3. ^ "ECM". ecmrecords.com. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  4. ^ Prasad, Prasad. "Miroslav Vitous – Freeing the muse by Anil". Inner Views. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  5. ^ 1984 Sydney Town Hall, producer Ian Davis (ABC radio)
  6. ^ "Past Winners Search". Grammy.com. Retrieved 24 March 2012.

External links[edit]