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 '80s triptych that began with 1980's First Meeting and ended with 1983's Journey's End. First Meeting was a ...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 beneath the surface and there's an intrepid spirit there that pays greater homage than more direct tributes. Weather ...read more
Days 1-3 | Days 4-5 | Days 6-8 | Days 9-11
Cassandra Wilson/Christian Scott Sextet James Carter Quintet/Jean Vanasse and Miroslav Vitous Mory Kanté Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Montréal, Quebec, Canada July 4-6, 2008
With the demise of one of Montreal's most famous clubs, Le Spectrum, the 29th edition of Festival International de Jazz de Montréal utilized the nearby Place des Arts more considerably. Specfically, the 765 capacity Théâtre Jean- Duceppe was used more extensively to house shows that used to play in the 900-seat, ...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 at age six, piano at age ten, and had settled upon bass--the instrument he's made his name playing--by the age ...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 the earlier album. The Czech bassist again uses a full orchestra but introduces several players, some of whom are making ...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 sequel to his critically acclaimed Universal Syncopations (ECM, 2003). The album features trumpeter Randy Brecker, woodwind player Bob Mintzer, drummer ...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 tune or an idea to the band, lays before it an organic structure in which they are to fit. For ...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), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Adam Nussbaum (drums) and Vitous. It is an odd tune. There are several strands incorporated with voices ...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 feel remarkably spontaneous. That the Czech bassist was a founding member of 1970s fusion group Weather Report will come as ...read more
Submitted on behalf of George Harris.
Two bass players separated by mere months of age, both initially influenced by the LaFaro/Peacock school of thought, and both arriving at the burgeoning of a whole new era of jazz are featured on these ECM new releases. Both bassists took diverging paths and Universal Syncopations and Extended Play provide an insightful comparison.
Miroslav Vitous Universal Syncopations ECM Records 2003
Miroslav Vitous, at one time the darling of the fusion world, and a member of the original Weather Report, essentially dropped out of the music scene to dedicate ...read more
Much of the allure of producer Manfred Eicher's ECM label over the span of some three decades has been in the roster of artists who have found in the company an excellent match between the chamber-like aesthetics of the recordings and their own muse. As such, it's no surprise that with today's smaller circle of artists on the company payroll the number of truly remarkable ECM albums as of late has been somewhat limited in number.
Universal Syncopations is enthusiastically the exception to this in that it documents a true super group with inspired results. Chick Corea and ...read more
Some truisms are so true. If you have the chance to listen to Miroslav Vitous' Universal Syncopations, you will understand why I'm compelled to say that music is about listening. Syncopations is a unique gathering of well vetted musicians who, besides of playing with real mastery, seem to be listening to each other carefully and respectfully. It is a sort of aural democracy: everybody has the chance to say it all and, at the same time, everyone lets the other have his share.
Nevertheless, Vitous represents the backbone of such a democratic conversation. He's always suggesting the topic the rest ...read more
Not just an album, Universal Syncopations --bassist Miroslav Vitous's latest release on ECM, and his first as a leader in more than ten years--is nothing short of an event. With a stellar line-up consisting of living legends Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, John McLaughlin, and Jan Garbarek, Universal Syncopations is more than merely the sum of some truly fantastic parts. There is no ego on this album. Each musician plays with humility. A sense of stillness pervades the atmosphere. This is music that would not sound out of place in a zen garden.
The album kicks off with the ...read more
Lots of people are going to be talking about this record. For good reason, admittedly, because bassist Miroslav Vitous dropped off the scene a while ago--to, among other things, amass a collection of orchestral samples--and has only just come back with his first record in a decade. This is the same man who played with Miles Davis and Chick Corea, who helped found the epic fusion group Weather Report, who brought John McLaughlin and Jan Hammer together. Back in the old days, of course.
And that's not counting his work as a leader, which is formidable indeed, and ...read more
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