Makoto Ozone: the Trio @ Kennedy Center Jazz Club

Mood becomes music. Single notes lead to many.

This time on JazzSet, from the Kennedy Center Jazz Club, we have an expression of musical trust and practiced clairvoyance -- two essential elements of the Makoto Ozone Trio. With his longtime trio-mates James Genus, bass, and Clarence Penn, drums, the music is magic. They take a lot of chances with rhythms and melodic lines, and make them work every time.


Makoto grew up in the Japanese port city of Kobe. Oscar Peterson's music was a big influence on young Makoto. An early goal was to play like Oscar, only faster. There's still a trace of Peterson in Makoto's playing. Makoto's musician father would take his talented child to concerts to meet visiting artists. As college approached, his parents considered sending him to the Juilliard School in New York City. But Juilliard didn't have a jazz program and Makoto didn't read music. He wound up in Boston at Berklee, where his classmates included Wallace Roney, Donald Harrison, and JazzSet's previous host, Branford Marsalis.

At Berklee, Makoto arranged and played in some larger ensembles, learning skills that are paying off today in his music for trio and strings, and for his Japan-based big band, the No Name Horses. Along with this full career, Makoto is currently studying counterpoint and conducting at the Eastman School of Music.

In January 2006, Makoto will bring his No Name Horses big band from Japan to New York for the International Association of Jazz Education convention. It's a huge undertaking. We have advance music from No Name's CD in a feature about Makoto's big band on this edition of JazzSet.

And by the way: Makoto hosts an eclectic weekly show, Oz Meets Jazz, on J-Wave radio in Japan. There is a link to J-Wave below.

"I Hear a Rhapsody" (writer unknown)
"Fairy Dance" by Ozone
"Beginning" by Ozone
"Asian Dream" by Ozone
"The Outback" by Clarence Penn


Makoto Ozone

Kennedy Center Jazz

J-Wave (in Japanese)

IAJE 2006 convention

Our writer is Brian Sanders in Los Angeles. Special thanks to Rhonda Hamilton for the Makoto Ozone interview.

Additional recording by Eric Plesko, with thanks to Pauline Dabrowski at Radio France, Paris, and Brian McCabe at Jazz 88, WBGO in Newark, NJ.

JazzSet is produced by Becca Pulliam with Executive Producer Thurston Briscoe III. Duke Markos is Technical Director.