Some time ago, I wrote on Rifftides, “The Czech Frantisek Uhliř is one of the greatest bassists in the world. He works frequently in the trio of his countryman pianist Emil Viklicky, another great European player about whom most Americans know little. I just ran across a brief note I made when I was in Prague twelve years ago (now, more like 25 years ago), helping American economists teach market economics to Czech journalists newly released from communism.”
June 10, 1993: Went to Agartha last night to hear Frantisek Uhlir, the wonderful bassist. Earlier in the day one of his fans told me he is better than George Mraz. Maybe, maybe not, but he is superb, world class. Uhlir is a short, powerful, chubby man with a pleasant round face. His tone is round, too, and centered, and he is fast, agile and swinging.
There is nothing about Uhliř’s new album, Story of my life, to alter that assessment. Leading his septet, he is as powerful as when I first heard him in Prague with Viklicky at the storied club called Agartha. In a recent video, we are treated to Uhliř leading his seven-piece ensemble at another fine Prague club, Reduta. At the end of the long clip, we’ll give you the names of the players.
František Tomšíček, trumpet; Přemek Tomšíček, trombone; Andy Schofield, alto saxophone (UK); Suzanne Higins, tenor saxophone (UK); Standa Mácha, piano; Marek Urbánek, drums; Frantisek Uhliř, bassist and leader.