Born: September 9, 1944 Primary Instrument: Bass
A native of the Czech Republic, George Mraz was born in 1944. He began his musical studies on violin at age seven and started playing jazz in high school on alto saxophone. He attended the Prague Conservatory in 1961 studying bass violin and graduating in 1966.
It is likely that his early exposure to these melodic instruments contributed to his mature lyric gifts as a bassist, an instrument he came to rather late in the game. I was playing some weekend big band jobs, Mraz recalls, and this bass player wasn't very good. Either that or he was a genius, he laughs, because he seemed to always play the wrong notes. Every now and then you'd think he must play some of the right notes, just by accident. But, no. So I picked up the bass on a break and tried to find the notes. I thought, 'It's not that difficult.' So I got a bass and began playing a little bit. Next thing I knew, I was in the Prague Conservatory....