258

Makoto Ozone Trio: The Trio

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Back when Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone was attending Berklee, he was Gary Burton's prodigy and a frighteningly promising improvisor. Ozone has an unusual ability to suggest odd traits of past masters – the muscularity of Ahmad Jamal, the happy romanticism of Bill Evans, the simplicity of the intricate Joanne Brackeen and, at times, the classic panache of Chick Corea – and weave them into a personable style.

Somewhere along the way, even though all these traits are still evident, he lost his ability to dazzle. He was recorded in Gary Burton's band — Real Life Hits (1984) and Whiz Kids (1986) — then recorded two moderately interesting albums for Columbia. He kind of disappeared from America for a while, releasing a series of discs for CBS / Sony and Verve in Japan, then finally resurfacing stateside on a duet disc with Gary Burton ( Face to Face 1994). While he never really went away, The Trio is his first in the U.S. since 1985's After.

All in all, it's a nice, straight-ahead date that celebrates the simpatico between the 36-year-old pianist and his aggressively attuned partners: Kiyoshi Kitagwawa on bass and American Clarence Penn on drums (drummer with Cyrus Chestnut and David Sanchez). This is a beautifully integrated trio, and one of which Ozone is very proud (he says so in his notes). Kitagwawa, in particular, spurs Ozone to marvelous heights. The rapport between these two is reminiscent of other piano / bass partners of the past: Ahmad Jamal with Israel Crosby, Bill Evans and Scott LaFaro (and Eddie Gomez), Joanne Brackeen with Clint Houston (and Eddie Gomez) and Chick Corea with John Patitucci (and, ah, Eddie Gomez too). Welcome guest John Scofield adds his individual flourishes to three numbers — and Ozone pays him the complement of crafting melodies that are very much in the guitarist's strong compositional style ("Lazy Uncle," "Home" and "Stinger").

Unfortunately, as good as it is, The Trio isn't quite as memorable as it could have been. Ozone has an astute way of holding your attention while he expounds and explores. But, like much of his recordings before, when The Trio is finished, so has its impact. Despite crafting a refreshingly original program free of Monk renditions and Cole Porter variations, Ozone's compositions – little more than sketches brought to life with exceptional interaction – probably don't rate a full program. One can only hope this talented and intuitive group gets a hold of stronger material next time around.

Titles: "The Beginning," "Lazy Uncle"-1, "Fairy Dance," "Esperanza," "Home"-1, "Tea For Three," "Stinger"-1, "My Old Book," "A Happy Cat," "Boon-Cha-Cha.(60:04)"

Personnel:

Makoto Ozone (piano); Kiyoshi Kitagawa (bass); Clarence Penn (drums); John Scofield-1 (guitar).

| Record Label: Verve Music Group | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Time Thread
Selective Records
2013
buy
My Witch's Blue
Selective Records
2012
buy
Treasure
Selective Records
2002
buy
Starlight
Selective Records
1990
buy
Now You Know
Selective Records
1987
buy
Bill Evans Bill Evans
piano
Hank Jones Hank Jones
piano
Dave Brubeck Dave Brubeck
piano
Stan Getz Stan Getz
sax, tenor
Bill Charlap Bill Charlap
piano
Hal Galper Hal Galper
piano
Wynton Kelly Wynton Kelly
piano
Tony Bennett Tony Bennett
vocalist
Gil Evans Gil Evans
composer/conductor
Herbie Mann Herbie Mann
flute

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "King Of Xhosa" CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Just Get In" CD/LP/Track Review Just Get In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Impermanence" CD/LP/Track Review Impermanence
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "A Cut Through The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review A Cut Through The Heart
by Jack Gold-Molina
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "Trio Miami" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Miami
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "The Pauper And The Magician" CD/LP/Track Review The Pauper And The Magician
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 17, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!