Sep 18, 2021
One of the finest bass players of the past fifty years has passed away. George Mraz (1944-2021) had been seriously ill after surgery a few years back, and never truly recovered.
I was inspired to prepare this podcast after reading a Facebook comment by bassist Todd Coolman. He wrote:
“There is not much I can add to the abundant love, respect, and sadness shown in this forum as a result of the death of George Mraz. I can say that his playing and musicianship always inspired me to try my best to become a better musician and bassist, and I will miss his presence, as it always reminds me of what true excellence is. If there is an afterlife, I am sure he will reunite with the giants of the music that he regularly associated with in this life. I can only imagine how beautiful their music must be. Thank you, George, for showing us the way, and R. I. P.”
Mraz was a linchpin of rhythm sections for the likes of Sir Roland Hanna, Oscar Peterson, Pepper , the Thad Jones\Mel Lewis Orchestra, Tommy Flanagan and Joe Lovano for decades. He also recorded ten albums under his own name, and six more with the New York Jaz Quartet, which he co-founded.
Born in Czechoslovakia, he heard jazz from the Voice of America Radio programs, and after graduating from the Prague Institute began gigging in jazz clubs in Munich. He moved to Boston in 1968 on scholarship from the Berklee School of Music, and almost immediately found himself in demand. Mraz was a linchpin of rhythm sections for the likes of Sir Roland Hanna, Oscar Peterson, Pepper Adams, the Thad Jones\Mel Lewis Orchestra, Tommy Flanagan and Joe Lovano for decades. He also recorded ten albums under his own name, and six more with the New York Jaz Quartet, which he co-founded.
Podcast 845 pays tribute to the late, great George Mraz and features a cross section of music from his career, including:
George Mraz – “Infant Eyes”
Joe Lovano – “Alone Together”
John Abercrombie Trio – “In Your Own Sweet Way”
New York Jazz Quartet – “A Romp in the Woods Somewhere”
Chet Baker – “All Blues”
Yelena Eckemoff Quartet – “Radiance”
Art Pepper – “My Friend John”
Charles Mingus – “Better Git Hit In Your Soul”
Sir Roland Hanna and George Mraz – “Clair de Lune”