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Miroslav Vitous

Performance for the NDR Jazz Workshop September 3, 1971 in Hamburg, Germany with Joe Zawinul (kbds), Wayne Shorter (sax), Alphonse Mouzon (drums), Miroslav Vitous (bass), Dom Um Romao (percussion), Eje Thelin (trombone), John Surman (bass clarinet), Alan Skidmore (flute).

Miroslav Vitous was born December 6, 1947 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 Jan Hammer on keyboards. He studied music at the Prague Conservatory, subsequently winning an international music contest in Vienna and earning himself a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Vitous's virtuoso jazz bass playing has led critics to place him in the same league as Scott LaFaro, Dave Holland, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and Arild Andersen. A representative example of Vitous'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.

As a founding member of the group Weather Report, he has worked with Larry Coryell, Jan Hammer, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, and Jan Garbarek.

*In 2001, Vitouš reunited with Corea and Haynes as the 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.

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