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George Mraz

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by arto alho, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. Anyone know what George Mraz been doin lately?
    A few days ago I borrowed a cd titled "Carmen McRae sings Monk". Pretty nice playing throughout the recording, a couple of awesome live cuts included, where Charlie Rouse plays the tenor himself.
    I didn´t like Georgie´s sound ( very electric ) but I was impressed of his playing and I´d like to listen more of his soloing, and transcribe some solos for educational purposes.
    I don´t have any other recordings by George Mraz, but I googled about Georgie and found out that he´s made a few recordings as leader, too. the last record of his own appeared to be from 1997, though ( My foolish heart ).
    He´s still working, isn´t he?
    Any suggestions for further listening?


  2. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Yep, still working. He has actually cut more cd's as a leader on Milestone after Foolish Heart. Jazz, Bottom Lines, Duke's Place, and Morova.

    Morova was very critically acclaimed, although it is a little strange to me. He put together some folk songs from his native land fused with jazz. Czech folk singer, cymalon, piano, bass, and drums.

    One of my all time favorite cd's is his trio recording Duke's Place. Billy Drummond on drums, and either Renee Rosnes or Cyrus Chestnut on piano (about half and half). It just swings hard. Gone is the electric sound, although I love his playing on the McRae tribute to Monk. Some of the rhythmic inventiveness of this trio is just jaw dropping, Satin Doll and Don't Get Around Much Anymore being great examples. Still don't know how he bows so sweetly on Spirocores....

    I would recommend that anyone who hasn't heard this recording pick it up while it is still available (came out in '99). All Duke tunes, and it is a desert island cd for me.

  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I caught Mraz in Toronto 2 or 3 years ago with the Renee Rosnes trio (Drummond on the kit.) Maybe it's just my bass player chauvinism, but I thought Mraz was easily the most impressive musician on the stand that night. I wouldn't have characterized his live tone as "electric" at all...
  4. Thanks a lot, ya all.
    I ordered "Duke´s place" today, to start with.
    Did some more googling, too. This Morova thing is interesting, but I think I´ll start with more straightforward stuff.
    Good to hear that his live sound is better than in that Carmen recording.

  5. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Two good CD's with George Mraz:
    1. Jimmy Rowles and George Mraz; Music's the Only Thing On My Mind; Audiophile; ACD-118 No drums, unamplified bass
    2. Zoot Sims; Soprano Sax; Pablo; OJCCD-902-2; with Mraz, Ray Bryant, Grady Tate; this swings hard; one bowed solo
  6. I couldn´t possibly think of living without Talkbass any more...

  7. I was just listening to this today - Stan Getz "Voyage" on the Blackhawk label, released in 1986. Kenny Barron and Victor Lewis round out the group. It's well recorded, includes plenty of great solos by George, a nice mix of standards and clever originals, and Kenny plays so elegantly. I think this was a working group for some time, so there is also that cohesiveness happening.

    Somebody told me his nickname is "Bounce" ...because he is one baaad Czech.

  8. That´s what I´ve also been told...
    Thanks, Tom. Have to check that out, too.
  9. I had no idea who he was when I saw him on tour w/Jim Hall a couple of years ago. He was amazing; I don't remember an electric tone - it was a small hall and most people play acoustically there. Super chops.
  10. BassGuyNL


    Jul 20, 2000
    The Netherlands
    I saw him live at North Sea Jazz a couple of years ago, with Joe Henderson (I think). I always thought it was physically impossible to do horn-like fluid solos on a double bass, until this concert. Incredible.

    His duo records with Tommy Flanagan are great, and since there are no other instruments clogging up the sound spectrum, I used some of this stuff to copy his lines, because they are so easy to hear.

    I can understand the "electrical" sound thing: I have a live CD by Chet Baker and Stan Getz, on which Mraz does sound a little electric, not unlike NHOP (maybe because the show was taped in Stockholm? :confused: ). Even so, his lines on this record were so compelling that this version of "Just Friends" was the very first tune I copied walking bass lines from , even when I only played electric bass back then...
  11. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    This thread is a bit old, but...
    he's done some stuff in the past year or so with Joe Lovano's wonderufl band w/Hank Jones. Its a 4tet, can't remember the drummer... I've only heard live stuff off the raio but I know they put out an album recently
  12. I've always loved GM's tone, and have never really thought it as being "electric".

    - Wil

    (BTW - Anton, great signature! ;) )
  13. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I have some great stuff with GM playing with Joey Calderazzo. They were doing straight ahead versions of Pastorius tunes. Portrait of Tracy in an trio setting sounded incredible. I am not huge on his tone, but Mraz does not get enough credit IMO.
  14. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    He was playing his bass in Gage's shop when I walked in one Saturday morning. Sound was sweet indeed. Recordings are approximations.
  15. Funny this thread should come up; I've been getting into a Mraz kick lately. I picked up his "Jazz" CD (with a goosebump-inducing arco version of "The Peacocks") and the Art Pepper Vangard sessions. His playing epitomizes taste, technique and swing.

    There was a DJ around here who always insisted on using Mraz' Czech name, Jiri (pronouncec Yuri) instead of George whenever introducing a cut that included him.

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