Born: 1986 Primary Instrument: Bass, acoustic
Jiri Slavik was born in Havirov, Czech Republic, into a teacher’s family with a strong musical tradition. As a child he played the violin, which he exchanged for the double bass around age 13. A year later he moved to Rome, Italy, where he attended St Stephen’s School and eventually also the Santa Cecilia Conservatoire (Massimo Giorgi’s double bass class). In the summer of 2004 he graduated from both of these institutions, always with the highest attainable marks (the seven-year long double bass course at the conservatoire took him three years to finish).
After having been offered a full scholarship from the Royal Academy of Music, Jiri moved to London, UK, to pursue his studies, first in classical double bass with Duncan McTier, later on in jazz composition with Barak Schmool. After three years he finished the four years long programme with “First Class Honours”.
Since August 2007 he lives as a freelance musician and a composer in Paris, France. He has attended masterclasses under the direction of jazz celebrities such as Dave Holland, Jeff „Tain“ Watts, Larry Grenadier, Jeff Ballard, Kenny Wheeler or contemporary music authorities like Pierre Laurent-Aimard or Peter Maxwell Davies. During his years at the Academy he was the first double bassist of the Concert Orchestra under the direction of Colin Davis or a chosen soloist at the Paganini Festival (2006). With the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris he played Bach’s St Matthew Passion in the Notre Dame or performed in the Théâtre des Champs-Elyseés.
As a soloist he has appeared in the Santa Cecilia hall of the auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome or in a program of the Czech Television Koncert na kurtech. With pianist Fred Thomas he made two live recordings for the Czech Radio, as well as the album Repose (F-IRE label, London). His music is in an independant German film production Oury Jalloh (www.ouryjalloh-derfilm.de), which won the German Human Rights Film prize, category amateur film, for 2008.
Awards:1st prize in jazz at the international double bass convention BASS 2008, Paris; 2nd prize at Premio Valentino Bucchi, Rome, 2005; silver medal of the Italian president, 2005; 2nd prize at the competition of Italian conservatoires Werther Benzi (2004, 1st prize wasn’t issued); The city of Havirov Culture prize (2007)
The textural range of the duo is impressive, and Slavik's arco playing inparticular is exemplary; this is music requiring patience and application, but it is rich and original enough to reward both. - Chris Parker on the album Repose
Jiri Slavik is a gifted musician who happens to play bass, GREAT. He is pushing envelopes of rhythm, harmony, melody and timbre integration in the service to a compelling compositional imagination. Repose' is the debut CD of Jiri Slavik's music with the fine pianist Fred Thomas who, together, are in sync with a clear multiple vision of sonic beauty. Mark Dresser
Composition and Improvisation exquisitely merge as these two young masters converse, creating dramatic musical landscapes of extraordinary colour and dynamic contrast. At once intense, primal and highly sophisticated, this is contemporary music at it's most inspiring best. A visionary work made by great artists with a lot to say. Oren Marshall on the album Repose