Bassist from Pisek, Czech Republic, who started out playing violin
when he was seven years old and gravitated to the alto saxophone in high
school. He continued his studies
at the Prague Conservatory and the Berklee School
of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
His career as
a bassist started out as more of a curiosity than anything. The bass player in one of the bands
he played with was so bad, George was mystified. How hard can it be? he thought.
He answered his own question by taking up the bass, relieved to
discover the right notes could indeed be found.
By 1969, he
was good enough to play with Dizzy Gillespie’s outfit in the Big
Apple. Shortly thereafter, he
was scooped up by Oscar Peterson and joined his trio for a tour that lasted
about two years. In 1973, he
joined the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and he stayed with them for three
years. He also moonlighted with
Stan Getz from 1974 to 1975.
In 1975, he appeared
on the album, Zoot Sims & The Gershwin Brothers. He also played a rare date with
Roland Hanna, and in 1976 met pianist Emil Viklicky,
with whom he would record decades later. In the meantime, he spent the
balance of the ‘70s and ‘80s gigging with John Abercrombie,
Bill Evans, Tommy Flanagan and the New York Jazz Quartet. In 1988, he appeared on the CD, Carmen McRae Sings Monk.
with Flanagan in 1992, after ten years, and concentrated on free-lancing
with artists and groups such as DIM, Grand Slam, Joe Henderson, Hank Jones,
Manhattan Trinity and McCoy Tyner.
In the 1990s,
he finally had a chance (and the time) to front his own band, a foursome
that included Richie Beirach, Billy Hart and Rich
Perry. He also began to release
CDs under his own name on the Milestone label, including his simply titled
debut album, Jazz. Other albums followed: Bottom
Lines, Duke’s Place, Morava and Round About Monteverdi.
In 1997, he
bumped into Emil Viklicky, and they planted the
seeds for a project that would enjoy its fruition more than a decade
later. The idea was to combine
Moravian folk music with jazz, and the result was Moravian Gems, released in 2008. George and the singer on the album,
Iva Bittova, had instant chemistry and plan to
perform live (and perhaps record?) again.
details on this highly respected bassist, please see his website, listed