Czech jazz musician George Mraz passes away at age 77

The Písek native lived in the United States for more than 50 years, and played with Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock and many others.

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 18.09.2021 10:50 (updated on 18.09.2021) Reading time: 1 minute

Czech musician George Mraz, who lived in the United States for over 50 years, passed away at the age of 77 on Thursday.

Mraz was one of the most celebrated and sought-after jazz bassists of the 20th century, collaborating with some of the biggest names in the industry and contributing to hundreds of LPs.

His wife Camilla informed the public about his death on Facebook.

Mraz was born Jiří Mráz in Písek, South Bohemia, in September 1944. He played alongside the world's most acclaimed jazz musicians, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Clark Terry, Herbie Hancock, and Joe Williams.

In 1969, he was invited by Dizzy Gillespie to play with his band in New York. Later, Mraz played with the Oscar Petersons Trio and Ella Fitzgerald.

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George Mraz also regularly played with Charlie Mingus, Tommy Flanagan, Stan Getz and other top jazz musicians.

In 2009, former president Václav Klaus awarded Mraz with the President's Golden Plaque on his 65th birthday. The Plaque is awarded to personalities who have excelled in their field and benefited the Czech Republic.

Mraz graduated from the Prague Conservatory in the 1960s. He decided to defect to the United States after the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

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When he was 24, he gained a fellowship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Mraz first performed in Germany and later moved to the United States.

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