The Artists - Miroslav Vitous

Miroslav Vitous – bass, keyboard and guitar player, born December 6 1947 in Prague – was part of Thomas Agergaard's Octet at the JAZZPAR 2002 Event.

Miroslav Vitous began playing the violin at the age of six, the piano at ten, and finally the double bass at 14. He attended the Prague Conservatory while playing in the Junior Trio with his brother Alan on drums and Jan Hammer on keyboard. He also played with a Dixieland band with trumpeter / singer Jírí Jerinek, while still in Czechoslovakia.
   He won first prize at an international music contest in Vienna – a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston. At this time Miroslav was confronted with a dilemma: should he pursue the career of musician, or that of a swimmer? He ranked as a top Olympic contender in free style swimming. Luckily he chose music.
   He went to USA in 1966 but stayed at Berklee for only a short time. In 1967 he moved to New York and quickly became involved in the music scene there, playing with Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Mariano, Bob Brookmeyer, Stan Getz, Herbie Mann, Donald Byrd, Miles Davis and Chick Corea. In 1970, he, Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, founded the legendary Weather Report. After three years, he left the group due to musical differences and spent several years experimenting with electric guitars.    Miroslav Vitous then formed his own group with John Surman, Kenny Kirkland and Jon Christensen and recorded three albums. Simultaneously Vitous became the director of the Jazz Department in New England Conservatory in Boston, and lead the department for three years.
He reunited with Roy Haynes and Chick Corea and their much-acclaimed Trio Music, touring the world and recording two albums over the next two and a half years.
   Other projects were a world tour with Stanley Clark; several performances as a soloist with Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra and Music of Viva of Boston; and the solo album “Emergence”.
   In 1988 Miroslav Vitous moved back to Europe. He stopped teaching and became once again a full time composer and performer. He has appeared at many festivals and concerts and collaborated with top European musicians.    After 22 years, he returned to Prague and recorded an album with his brother Alan Vitous.
   Another part of Vitous’ activities has been the creation of sample libraries, which set the standard for orchestral samples heard in feature films, television shows, and other music productions throughout the world.
   In Weather Report Vitous applied the approach developed by Scott La Faro of treating the double bass as a lyrical melodic instrument rather as a timekeeper. Vitous uses the bow with virtuosity. He integrates classical and folk-impressionistic elements with straight jazz in a coherent expression. His singing lines have a solidity of purpose.
   The magazines Down Beat, Swing Journal and Jazz Forum have awarded Vitous and since 1968, he has been in the league of vanguard double bass players.

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