Conversations with the Artist: Makoto Ozone

SSO Principal Percussionist Jon Fox switches his drumsticks for a mic in a new SSOPlayOn! series. In Conversations with the Artist Jon hosts video conversations with artists from across the music world. Jon's guest this week is none other than Japanese jazz pianist Makoto Ozone. You might even catch him performing a number or two!

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, Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev, 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.