Cultural Percussionist

Miroslav Vitous Day

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, 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.

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.

Vitouš’s virtuoso jazz bass playing has led critics to place him in the same league as Scott LaFaro, Dave Holland, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersenand 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.

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