Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone


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While it takes only two to tango, the best jazz usually demands a crowd of three or more musicians (with at least one of them being a drummer). Yet in this ravishing duo of vibraphonist Gary Burton and his onetime protege, pianist Makoto Ozone, other contributors would simply get in the way of the spectacularly conceived--and even more impressively executed--music. For sheer technique Burton stands alone at his instrument: no previous or contemporary vibraphonist has performed at this level of complexity and exactitude. He can quite literally leave listeners breathless with the detailed power of his playing. And of all the contexts in which Burton has worked--as sideman with Stan Getz, as leader of the first real fusion band, as soloist in large composed works--this virtuosity has revealed itself most clearly in the several albums of vibes-piano duets he has recorded with Chick Corea (and in Burton's occasional unaccompanied vibes work). Those albums will soon have company in the form of Face to Face (GRP), an album of duets between Burton and Ozone that arrives in two weeks. Ozone's technical prowess also commands attention. Athough he has never developed a truly individualized voice, and specifically shows a great deal of Corea's influence, he plays with imagination and unquestioned command. He also brings to the table an unusual degree of interplay with Burton. Put it all together--and factor in Burton's four-mallet technique, which allows him to play full chords with the facility (if not the range) of a pianist--and you end up with incredibly forceful, swinging chamber music for two quite distinct keyboards. Miss this one at your risk. Tuesday through next Sunday, March 19, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4846.

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