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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby




Munich Summer Jazz Festival 1995





    1. Monk’s Dream
    2. Why’d You Do It
    3. Bento Box
    4. Laura’s Dream
    5. Opus Half
    6. Kato’s Revenge
    7. Blue Monk

Gary Burton – Vibraphone

Makoto Ozone – Piano

A lot of the jazz released on DVD so far has been disappointing, this is one is certainly an exception, it is one of the finest jazz productions that has been released on any media. Burton and Ozone are both phenomenal musicians and both sound and vision are also up to the very high standard of the music.

The interplay between the two is fantastic; it is as though they were guided by telepathic communication! Most duos cause suspicion that the reason for the lack of a full rhythm section is more economic than musical. This is not the case here; the duo is a complete entity in itself, brought about by the sheer brilliance of the performers.

Gary Burton has always been his own man; his beginnings were in Country and Western, although you would never guess it. His playing acknowledges what went before with Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo and Milt Jackson, but his own unique four mallet style, which uses little or no vibrato, is firmly established as the next phase in the development of vibraphone playing.

Makato Ozone was a child prodigy in his native Japan, before moving to the USA to study at Berklee College in Boston. Gary Burton was on their teaching staff at that time in the roll of vice-president. That was how the two met and started co-operating. Ozone is a great fan of Oscar Peterson and it shows in his playing. He is a master of all styles, his stride piano is sensational and his ability to play jazz as a solo performer is at a level only achieved by Peterson in the past.

The musical programme is also top class, it is a wonderful mixture of old and new, which allows both men to perform in a way that is extremely interesting, but always accessible. There are two Thelonius Monk numbers to open and close the set, Monk’s Dream starts things off and the set closes with Blue Monk, both are classic demonstrations of how Monk’s compositions lend themselves to many interpretations. He would have been a proud man to hear these musicians at work had he still been with us.

Laura’s Dream is not really a jazz composition, but the musical performance is fascinating and the interplay between the performers breathtaking.

Opus Half by Benny Goodman starts with some great stride piano from Ozone followed by an ensemble, which really does swing like the proverbial clappers. It is followed by a solo from Burton that has all the marks of a great jazz performer, what a contrast all this is to the previous piece. Ozone then solos and shows us he is well equal to the challenge Burton has set with his superb solo. Not surprisingly the audience really go wild with their applause at the end of this one.

The programme has two originals from Ozone, Bento Box and Kato’s Revenge, both make excellent vehicles for the duo and both are good themes in themselves.

I rate this DVD as a must buy!

Don Mather


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