Shunzo Ohno has reached exhilarating heights, experienced unexpected lows and overcoming unbelievable odds, risen again to surpass even his own successes. Born in Gifu, Japan, Shunzo began his musical training at age 13 on the trombone - the only instrument available in his school. He didn't begin playing the trumpet until age 17, partly inspired by the film Boy with Trumpet. By age 19, Shunzo was the leading jazz trumpeter in Japan.
Already working as an accomplished composer and arranger in Japan, Shunzo's career hit high gear when he met the renowned bandleader Art Blakey. He toured with Blakey throughout the United States and settled in New York City in 1974 at Blakey's suggestion. During this period, Shunzo maintained a close friendship and working relationship with the bandleader while also working with Norman Connors, Roy Haynes and the Hip Ensemble while leading his own group. His original composition Bubbles was featured on Connor's million- selling recording, You Are My Starship, and became a hit single, attaining gold status. Today, audiences continue to request this favorite tune, Bubbles.
The compelling Latin energy in Shunzo's playing can be linked to his tenure with the celebrated Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra, with whom he toured Europe and South America. During his three-and-a-half years with Machito, Shunzo recorded the Grammy Award-winning recording Machito and His Salsa Big Band (1983), which featured his dazzling solos.