Makoto Ozone

Rhonda Hamilton with Makoto Ozone
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Makoto Ozone’s wizardry on the piano has made him a star not only in his native Japan but around the world. 

He taught himself to play the organ when he was just a toddler and then as a preteen, switched to the piano after hearing Oscar Peterson in concert. Ozone has spent his life mastering jazz and classical music, and he’ll demonstrate his proficiency in both with a performance Tuesday night at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, followed by concerts Thursday through Saturday at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall with the New York Philharmonic.

Makoto Ozone On Piano Jazz

Oct 27, 2017
Waring Abbott/Getty Images

In 1984, when pianist Makoto Ozone was Marian McPartland's guest for the first time, he had become known as a rising jazz star. In his early 20s, he was already a master technician with many keyboard influences, including Oscar Peterson, but he first heard jazz from his father at home in Kobe, Japan.

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Gary Burton opened his first set at Birdland on Tuesday night with “Bud Powell” — a tune by his longtime collaborator Chick Corea, set at a boppish saunter. Standing behind his vibraphone, four mallets ablur, Burton seemed in his element, perfectly at ease. There was no indication that this was a historic engagement: he was kicking off his final week-long run in a New York club, as part of a Farewell Tour.