Makoto Ozone

Majoring in Jazz composition and arrangement, Makoto Ozone graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in 1983. The same year, he gave a solo recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City, becoming the first Japanese musician to be exclusively signed to CBS, with the worldwide release of his first album OZONE.
His stellar career has brought him a Grammy nomination in 2003, and has constantly been in the forefront of the international jazz scene, recording and touring with the greats of Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Branford Marsalis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Christian McBride, Dave Weckl, Mike Stern and others. In 2004, he formed the "No Name Horses" big band in Japan. The band has been performing successfully in France, Austria, the US, the UK, Singapore and Japan ever since.
In recent years, Ozone has also been focusing on works from the classical music repertoire, playing concertos by Bernstein, Mozart, Rachmaninov, and Prokoviev, with major orchestras both in Japan and abroad. Such performances have been highly acclaimed by the press; the North Germany Hannover Newspaper has also described it as "the audience was fascinated and struck with awe at Ozone’s unparalleled performance." Road to Chopin was released in 2010, celebrating the bicentenary of Chopin's birth, and awarding him the "Chopin Passport" from the Polish government.
In February 2014, he was appointed by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, to take part in their Asian tour, as the first Japanese jazz pianist. He later participated in a special performance at their home concert hall, Avery Fisher Hall, where he received a warm welcome of a full-house audience, highly praised by the media, such as the New York Times. The San Francisco Symphony also invited Ozone to take part in their concert later that year.
His third collaboration with Gary Burton, Time Thread was released in June 2013, which later developed to a tour in Japan. After forming a quartet with Dave Weckl, Tom Kennedy, and Gary Meek in 2015, they headed for a tour in the US, Europe, and Japan. In May 2016, the first nationwide duo tour in Japan with Chick Corea swept the nation away.
2017 has already been a busy year for the pianist; in March, Gary Burton, who announced his retirement from performing, and Ozone, toured the US, and later in May and June through Japan. In August, along with Clarence Penn and James Genus, THE TRIO released Dimensions, their first reunion album in a decade, and once again, he was invited by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, to perform three days in a row, at their regular concerts held at the David Geffen Hall (renamed from Avery Fisher Hall in 2015) in early November.
2018 Awarded Shiju-HouShyou (The Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon)

Photo by Leslie Kee