|Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone Duets
“Playing in a group is sort of like being part of a panel discussion where everyone takes turns offering views on a subject, with support and encouragement from the rest. A solo performance is almost like delivering a speech. But, in a duet, two performers have a face-to-face conversation. It’s very interactive and intensely focused, and if the two players are in rapport, it’s the most exciting music I know. Looking back on my career, it just may be my most ideal musical setting.
Gary Burton, vibraphone
Makoto Ozone, piano
Since that first experience in Munich, I’ve had the opportunity to play more duets with Chick and with several other great musicians: Ralph Towner, Steve Swallow and Paul Bley; but most importantly, Makoto Ozone. Makoto was 21 when he joined by band in 1984, and almost immediately we started including duets in our concerts. Before long, we could practically read each other’s minds when we played together.
Besides developing into a great improviser, soloist, and writer, Makoto is an expert in the widest range of styles of almost any musician I know. Being able to explore all kinds of jazz (and some types of music outside of jazz) has been one of the highlights of our collaboration. When we finished recording and I listened to these songs, I was struck by the great variety of our repertoire, everything from standards and contemporary jazz to tango and 1930’s stride. I hadn’t realized how much music we explored over this past decade.
Recording is always a challenge because you want to capture your best on the tape and you don’t have an audience on hand for inspiration. Some projects require a lot of advance preparation, like getting new music ready and setting up for complicated studio situations. Bue a record like this relies almost entirely on preparation which takes place in the player’s minds and comes through experience. Since we have been performing most of these songs with some regularity, we decided to record direct to two-track, playing the pieces as we would at a concert. We wanted to capture the energy we always seem to have when there’s an audience.
This record was non-stop fun for us. And, it documents the adventures we’ve had over ten years of making music. We’ve been a lot of places, played a lot of music, and stood in front of a lot of audiences in that time. We hope you find it as much of an adventure as we have.”