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George Mraz: Jazz

The exquisite sound of George Mraz’s bass suffuses this new release with deep rich colors. Mraz plays soul to soul-the sounds he produces coming from deep within and reaching the same place in the listener. His Prague Conservatory training emphasized expressiveness, control and warmth; Mraz has them in abundance.

Longtime associates pianist Richie Beirach and drummer Billy Hart join Mraz on this set of Shorter, Abercrombie, Rodgers and Hart and Mraz originals. And while Beirach and Hart each have stellar moments, the star here is clearly Mraz, whose full unerring tone stands out whether he’s playing behind Beirach’s solos, as part of the trio, or on his own. Mraz doesn’t dominate but he’s not afraid to feature himself and demonstrate his versatility-listen to his arco/pizzicato layering of Jimmy Rowles’ “The Peacocks.” Rich Perry’s sax adds highlights on two tunes, and Larry Willis gives a beautiful reading of Bill Evans’ “Your Story.” – Sunsh Stein

Originally Published