Makoto Ozone + Tommy Smith

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Last Show: Wednesday 12 th October 2022

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

Tommy Smith and Makoto Ozone first met as members of Gary Burton’s quartet in the 1980’s. Affectionately known as ‘Whiz Kids’, the group (with Steve Swallow on bass) toured widely in the USA. Since then, their paths have crossed frequently, and their partnership on Mozart’s ‘Juenehomme’ for the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in 2014 represents a high watermark of artistic imagination. The new partnership of Smith/Ozone as a contemporary duo want to take this music out and share it as widely as possible, not merely on social media, but live and alive on the concert platform for audiences that appreciate style, panache and irresistible wit.

“...thrilling, virtuosic and unabashedly personal”

New York Times on Makoto Ozone

Makoto Ozone

Makoto Ozone is a unique force in both jazz and classical music, blending sound worlds and a host of influences into his performances. Born in Kobe, Japan, he was self-taught in jazz, under his father’s guidance, first on the organ, then piano. He first came to public attention when he gave his solo recital at the Carnegie Hall in 1983, following his graduation from Berklee College of Music. Ozone then became the first Japanese artist to sign an exclusive contract with CBS and released his first album, Ozone, a year after his Carnegie debut.

Ozone has collaborated with numerous other jazz artists including Gary Burton, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Branford Marsalis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Christian McBride, Dave Weckl, and Mike Stern. He is a regular guest of classical music festivals including the Festival de la Roque d’Anthéron in France and La Folle Journée in Nantes and Japan. In 2016 he joined Chick Corea for the Piano Duo Plays “Acoustic” tour throughout Japan.

Tommy Smith

Saxophonist Tommy Smith is one of Scotland’s leading jazz musicians and composers and has been a presence on the world jazz scene since his teenage years. At the age of nineteen he was touring internationally with Gary Burton’s Whiz Kids quintet and three years later he signed to the legendary jazz label Blue Note. Smith has since gone on to establish and direct the internationally acclaimed Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. He regularly tours the world with Norwegian bass master Arild Andersen’s trio, widely regarded as one of the premier groups working in jazz today. Smith has also worked with Chick Corea, Kenny Wheeler and collaborated with Scotland's Poet Laureate Edwin Morgan.