© Photo by Kiyotaka Saito
For decades now the multi-Grammy nominated Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone belongs to the world's absolute "cream de la cream" of jazz and classical pianists. What started in the early 1980s with a study at the Berklee College of Music, an exclusive record contract with CBS and the vocation in the quartet of his then mentor Gary Burton, took its course as today 's exclusive Universal Recording Artist, partner and Sideman such musicians as Chick Corea, Michael and Randy Brecker, Lee Ritenour, Dave Weckl, James Genus and Jeff "Tain" Watts, to name just a few well-known jazz greats. In Japan and the USA, an absolute superstar with his own TV format "OZ meets Jazz", Makoto Ozone is a sought-after and valued classical artist, a regular, not only in jazz, but also because of his outstanding musicality and playing technique he is invited by the most prestigious orchestras of the world as a soloist. To be able to experience an artist like him, who is usually at home on the world's most famous concert stages, in different line-up`s as solo, duo, trio or with big band "No Name Horses", is a small sensation and a rare happiness that you should not miss as a listener.makotoozone.com
No Name Horses is a big band led by pianist Makoto Ozone and made up of leading Japanese jazz musicians, most of whom are band-leaders in their own right. No Name Horses was formed in March 2004, for the CD recording of Kimiko Ito’s album "Once You’ve Been In Love (Video Arts Music)," produced by Makoto Ozone. Although the band was initially a temporary ensemble, brought together for the recording, Makoto was convinced that the quality of the band’s sound was of a worldwide level and in March 2005, No Name Horses and Kimiko Ito did the one-month tour at Blue Note jazz clubs all over Japan, celebrating the release of the album.
Right after the tour, the band invited the master engineer Joe Ferla from New York to record their first album, also called "No Name Horses" which was released in January 2006. The album includes the members’ own compositions as well as popular pieces by Makoto Ozone such as "Stinger" and "Three Wishes" arranged for big band. The album’s creative arrangements, the musicians’ outstanding techniques, and their powerful ensemble and solo playing are at a level rarely heard, and it is equally uncommon rare to find a big band recording new repertoire and taking it on tour.
In the same year, No Name Horses made its sensational international debut at the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) in New York, which assembled more than 10,000 musical participants from all around the world.
March 2006, saw the band’s second tour of Japan celebrating their first album, and in 2007, No Name Horses played at the "Tokyo Jazz" event, where they were credited with "certainly breathing new life into our jazz world ..." (Nikkei Shimbun). In February 2007, their second album "No Name Horses Ⅱ" was released to great acclaim and prompted critics to suggest that it will not be too far in the future before No Name Horses gets attention throughout the world.
Members: Makoto Ozone (Pf, Hammond B3), Eric Miyashiro (Tp), Mitsukuni Kohata (Tp), Sho Okumura (Tp), Yoshiro Okazaki (Tp, Flh), Eijiro Nakagawa (Tb), Yuzo Kataoka (Tb), Junko Yamashiro (B-Tb), Kazuhiko Kondo (As, Ss, Fl), Atsushi Ikeda (As), Toshio Miki (Ts), Masanori Okazaki (Ts), Yoshihiro Iwamochi (Bs), Kengo Nakamura (B), Shinnosuke Takahashi (Ds)