George Mraz came to Berklee in 1968 by way of the Czech Republic. Since coming to the United States, he has been an in-demand bassist, playing with a host of jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, and Charles Mingus and garnering credits on almost 1,000 recordings.
Mraz began studying the violin at the age of seven. At 12, he was turned on to jazz after hearing Louis Armstrong on the Voice of America radio program. Mraz attended the Prague Conservatory in 1961, graduating in 1966. He only switched to bass a few years before attending Berklee, picking up the instrument on a break at a big band job after lamenting that the bass player wasn’t very good.
Mraz came to Berklee on a scholarship in 1968. In 1969, he got a call from Dizzy Gillespie to join his group in New York and soon was touring and recording with a veritable who’s-who of top jazz players, a career that has lasted decades.
In line with his selfless attitude playing bass, Mraz didn’t lead his own band until the 1990s. "I always wanted to do some kind of projects on my own," Mraz said, "I just never got around to it." His album roster as a band leader includes Jazz (1995), Bottom Lines (1997), Duke's Place (1999), Morava (2001) and Jazz at Prague Castle (2012).