Infinite surge! Miroslav Vitous, the great bassist and Weather Report founding member, with an extraordinary cast of old friends, musicians who have changed the course of jazz, in an exciting album that is at once timeless and contemporary.When Vitous and producer Manfred Eicher first began discussing this project – Miroslav’s first ECM recording in a decade – one of the conceptual models was the bassist’s very first leader date, 1969’s “Infinite Search”. That historic landmark was long regarded, especially by musicians, as one of the crucial documents of the era. “Universal Syncopations” embodies the spirit of that time without being in any sense nostalgic. The new disc seems to make an ellipsis, continuing where “Infinite Search” left off, picking up the story. The central characters are now mature musicians, yet the purity of the playing remains its most striking characteristic. It retains, thanks to Vitous’s compositions and concept, the freshness of discovery. This is the quality that links the album to an era when music was the only “agenda”, before the speculative dawn of so-called fusion music, to a time when the protagonists were all still in the process of finding their voices.
Bassist Miroslav Vitous is back. After a long hiatus from jazz, his latest album Universal Syncopations is a powerful statement that picks up his distinguished career from where he left off eight years ago. … With a dazzling group of sidemen who have all been a part of his musical history, Vitous has created a major statement that could well be one of the critics’ picks of 2003. … While Universal Syncopations is both eloquent and exacting in its inner detail, it never lacks for inspiration. On some tracks Vitous takes the melody on bass, yet the internal dynamics and balance of the overall instrumentation are never upset. Everyone is sure of a personal role and place in shaping this music. Somehow it seems to be a natural extension of the questing brilliance of his 1969 album, Infinite Search. Somehow the past has become the present and present suggests the future as well. -Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise