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Makoto Ozone: The Trio

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Pianist Ozone is proud of his new trio, and rightly so: As a unit, they are a marvelous vehicle for his compositions, which tend to be as solidly-crafted as they are difficult to realize. The intricacies of his compositions are woven artfully into the whole cloth of each piece; they provide cues and springboards for soloing, and each of the three players on board here weaves them in turn into his work. Ozone has matured into a marvelous stylist, whose musical identity becomes clearer every time I hear him play. His stylistic debts, to Chick Corea and Bud Powell in particular, are still evident, but his articulation and smoothness of phrase are remarkably and distinctly his. Kiyoshi Kitagawa on bass is a sensitive accompanist with a clear sense of time and intonation. Clarence Penn on drums is fully supportive, with a delicate touch with brushes and the ability to kick things right along when the situation suggests it.