FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION FOR THE 63rd GRAMMY AWARDS

SHUNZO OHNO: RUNNER


Shunzo Ohno - RUNNER
Contemporary Instrumental Album

Shunzo Ohno - "RUNNER"
Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella 

Shunzo Ohno - "Heroic Dance"
Instrumental Composition 

 
 

RUNNER
Release Date: April 3, 2020

RUNNER, the 18th album from distinguished trumpeter and composer Shunzo Ohno comprises of three compositions; the first of which is a four piece symphonic suite aptly titled “EPIC”.

Shunzo Ohno is one of the most versatile and influential trumpeters in modern jazz. Over the course of his lengthy career, Ohno has released 18 albums as a leader and appeared on over 30 as a sideman. His long list of collaborators include Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (with whom he toured in the early 1970’s), Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Larry Coryell, Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra, and master arranger and composer Gil Evans, among many others. On RUNNER, Gil Evans’ influence is most apparent. Shunzo Ohno became a key collaborator with Evans and appeared on four recordings including the GRAMMY-Award winning album Live At Sweet Basil. 

The centerpiece and opening composition of RUNNER, EPIC”, takes major cues from Evans as it unleashes Ohno’s captivating mastery as a trumpeter over his dynamic symphonic vision. Ohno, who has won several awards for compositions including the 2014 International Songwriting Competition Grand Prize Award for his song “Musashi”, (making him the first jazz recipient), displays his writing chops on the four-part “EPIC” suite. The first movement and prelude, “Heroic Vision”, establishes the suite with an overture that evokes an intimate and timeless universal bond. Mercurial musical landscapes intertwine in the second movement, “Emerge”, with quiet colors as the woodwinds create moving passages. The third movement, “Galaxy Bonds”, showcases the melodious clarinet and cello while the fourth and final movement, “Heroic Dance” is the breathtaking conclusion featuring Ohno’s commanding trumpet and powerhouse percussion euphoria. Following “EPIC”, are two compositions: “Moon Over The Castle”, a stunning musical poem featuring a traditional and soulful Japanese melody and the title track “RUNNER” which pays tribute not only to runners’ unstoppable drive in marathons, but, as was his original intent, to honor the many resilient runners orchestrating peace and justice. 

The late guitarist Vic Juris appears on this anthem, along with bassists David Anderson and Ira Coleman, plus Thierry Arpino on drums and Clifford Carter on clavinet. Like all of Ohno’s recordings, “RUNNER” is an ode to perseverance, and bold strength with cinematic currents of fearless life force.

Ohno’s incredible life is the subject of three biographies and two documentary films. The most recent documentary short, Never Defeated: The Shunzo Ohno Story, is narrated by Ohno’s good friend Buster Williams. The thrilling story unfolds Ohno’s incredible resilience following a serious automobile accident in 1988 which permanently damaged his teeth and lips. Undeterred, Ohno awakened to his new reality and created a unique approach to his playing. In 1996, Ohno faced an uncertain future when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening form of throat cancer. 

After three years of relentless challenge, Ohno ultimately won the battle and was asked to perform with Wayne Shorter for a series of concerts in California - a moment of immense impact for him. Since then, Ohno has remained an intrepid innovative force in the contemporary jazz scene. 

When the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake devastated Northern Japan, Ohno dedicated himself to rebuilding efforts with a focus on global recovery, reviving music programs for children and fiercely creating compositions for all dreamers. DREAMER was released in 2018 advancing his resolve.

 
 
 

Press for Runner

 

JIM HYNES
MAKING A SCENE
"The grateful Ohno gives back too. When the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake devastated Northern Japan, he dedicated himself to rebuilding efforts as well as reviving music program for children and composing music at a brisk pace, as heard on his 2018 Dreamer. Ohno’s resolve and perseverance is just what we need right now as we all steel ourselves against this pandemic. Hopefully, like me, you’ll find the music as inspiring as his words: Dear Dreamer." Read the full review here.

CAROL MARTIN
ALL JAZZ RADIO
 "His story and music reeks of perseverance we all need to get us through this present pandemic."Read the full review  here.

GEORGE W. HARRIS
JAZZ WEEKLY
"Rich colors on a large brass palate." Read the full review  here.

 

MIKE GREENBLATT
GOLDMINE MAGAZINE
Runner is instantly catchy, memorable, accessible and wildly entertaining." Check the review here.

 

BRIAN MORTON
THE WIRE
"Ohno's story is among the most moving in contemporary music, but even without it, Runner would be a minor masterpiece." Full review here

KEVIN PRESS
THE MODERNS
One of contemporary jazz’s most remarkable trumpeters is back with his 18th disc as a band leader – the work is every bit as dramatic as his life has been. Check the review here.