With the ongoing demand for historic titles to see first-time CD issue, ECM has raised the ante even further with Re:solutions: seven classic recordings, released on CD (four available for the first time and one previously only available for a limited time in Japan), vinyl and high resolution digital formats. They're all important, but 1981's Miroslav Vitous Group stands out as one of the most significant, completing, as it does--and more than three decades after the fact--the Czech bassist's early ...read more
On the surface, Remembering Weather Report possesses little in common with the fusion supergroup that Czech bassist Miroslav Vitous co-founded in the early '70s with keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, before being summarily removed on the cusp of greater commercial success. Weather Report was a decidedly electric group; Vitous' is unapologetically acoustic, and doesn't really resemble, musically, early albums including WR's remarkable self-titled, 1971 debut and '72 follow-up, I Sing the Body Electric, both on Columbia. But scratch ...read more
You can't ask for a more interesting interview subject than Miroslav Vitous, but anyone in search of self-deprecation or false modesty would be best advised to seek elsewhere. Simply put, Miroslav Vitous believes in Miroslav Vitous; he believes--no, knows--that his work is important, and he will not waste a moment pretending otherwise.That's not terribly surprising, since the 60-year-old, Czech-born bassist and composer's resume places him dead-center in some very important musical settings and movements. Vitous was playing violin ...read more
Bassist/composer Miroslav Vitous will likely be regarded in history as one of the founding members of Weather Report, staying with them until 1973. Emigrating to the United States from Czechoslovakia in 1966, Vitous worked with a wide variety of musicians and has continued to do so since returning to Europe. He has recorded fourteen albums as a leader, updating Universal Syncopations (ECM, 2003) with a second volume.
Universal Syncopations II does not bear a lot of similarity to ...read more
On the new episode of The Jazz Session, Jason Crane interviews bassist Miroslav Vitous. Vitous came to the U.S. in 1966, and quickly became part of the New York jazz scene. He was a founding member of Weather Report along with Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul. Vitous played on the landmark trio session Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Blue Note, 1968) with Chick Corea and Roy Haynes. Vitous's new album is Universal Syncopations II (ECM, 2007), the ...read more
At least one underlying context of the ECM label has been to present jazz where the line between improvisation and composition/arrangement is blurred. When the improvisations are not jazzy" as the term is commonly understood, it begins to be difficult to discern where the composition ends and the improvisation begins. This is not to say that the music demands that the listener be able to figure this out, but rather that the composer, instead of presenting a ...read more
Miroslav Vitous is the centrifugal force of Universal Syncopations II. He composed, arranged, directed, produced, engineered and archived the music, which was recorded between November 2004 and April 2005.
Vitous uses different combinations to play his music. He moves from a trio to a quintet and, where necessary, has overdubbed orchestral parts or has multi-tracked vocals to give effect to his vision.
Orchestration courses through Opera, on which the main proponents are Bob Mintzer (tenor saxophone), Gary Campbell (soprano saxophone), ...read more
The integration of orchestration and improvisation can take many forms. In the case of woodwind multi-instrumentalist Tim Garland's The Mystery (Audio-b, 2007), it's about clearly delineated form, with soloists working within defined structures. For bassist Miroslav Vitous the process is more complex. Universal Syncopations II expands on the premise of Universal Syncopations (ECM, 2003), integrating real-time ensemble interaction with separately recorded orchestration.
Extensive post-production editing provides Vitous the flexibility to create compositions that are like stylistic collages while managing to ...read more