The Kennedy Center

Makato Ozone


Pianist Makato Ozone was born in Kobe, Japan in 1961, started playing organ very early, and was improvising by age seven. He heard Oscar Peterson at 12 and decided to be a pianist. While in high school he performed with Tadao Kitano and the Arrow Jazz Orchestra at several major Japanese jazz festivals. When he was 19 years old he moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music, began to gig around town and met the eminent jazz vibraphonist, Gary Burton. CBS Records issued his first album, Makato Ozone, a survey of Ozone's own compositions, in 1983, and the same year he joined the Gary Burton Quintet, which toured internationally. Mr. Ozone made his Carnegie Hall debut in a solo piano concert as part of the Cool Jazz Festival, and he then recorded three more albums for CBS: After, Now You Know, and Spring is Here, his first CD with jazz standards. He also recorded with Gary Burton, Paquito D'Rivera, Marc Johnson, and Chuck Loeb. Mr. Ozone returned to Japan in 1989 and began recording for the JVC label, releasing three CDs in Japan in three years: Starlight, Paradise Wings, and an album accompanied by a string orchestra entitled Walk Alone. In 1994 he went to the Verve/Polydor label and recorded his first piano solo album, Breakout. His next album included Peter Erskine on drums, and John Patitucci on bass. He met bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Clarence Penn in 1996 at The Floating Jazz Festival on the S.S. Norway. The three musicians immediately went into the studio and recorded the CD The Trio, which won Swing Journal's 1997Best Jazz of Japan Award. Their next CD, Three Wishes, was of original compositions by Mr. Ozone and their Dear Oscar CD, dedicated to Mr. Ozone's inspiration Oscar Peterson, won Swing Journal's 1998 Best Jazz of Japan Award. Mr. Ozone now lives in New York City, and has since recorded No Strings Attached (1999), Pandora (2000), Wizard of Ozone (2000), So Many Colors (2001), and Reborn (2002), all for Verve/Universal, all with Clarence Penn on drums, and various other artists. Burton and Mr. Ozone released an album together entitled Virtuosi on Concord Records (March 2002).

April 2004
Makato Ozone