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.
Release date: April 1, 2016
Shunzo Ohno, one of the most versatile and influential trumpeters in modern jazz, presents ReNew, his 16th album as a leader. The spirited interplay of the musicians is captured on this live studio recording, and reveals the depth of skill and joy in spontaneity that is characteristic of Ohno's ensemble performances. One can hear the give and take of jazz dialog underneath the mercurial expanse of this recording.
With ‘recovery to discovery’ in mind, ReNew is a testament to those affected by natural disasters that have taken place throughout the world including the 2011 tsunami in Japan. ReNew injects elements of traditional jazz, hip hop, spoken word, and free jazz, creating a tapestry of modern jazz that is distinctly Shunzo Ohno. The album features nine tracks, including International Songwriting Competition award winners: “Musashi,” and “Lea’s Run”.
Shunzo Ohno’s experiences with Art Blakey, Gil Evans, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock cast an influence resulting with a force of anticipation and fresh vitality. ReNew embraces a diverse spectrum of generations, masterful interplay and interpretations of music. Each of the compositions, confront life’s uncharted circumstances both on global and personal conditions. This recording illuminates vigor, dignity, hope and freedom with a renewed spirit.
ALL THAT JAZZ
"Considered one of the most influential trumpeters of our time, Shunzo Ohno has played, recorded and toured with such renowned leaders as Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Art Blakey, and many others. Mr. Ohno has 16 recordings under his name as a leader and has appeared on over thirty more as a sideman.Listen to this podcast here.
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.
" Runner is instantly catchy, memorable, accessible and wildly entertaining." Check the review here.
"Ohno's story is among the most moving in contemporary music, but even without it, Runner would be a minor masterpiece." Full review here.
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.
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.
Free jazz as filtered through smooth jazz, trumpeter Ohno leads his crew of first call jazzbos through a marvelous session that opens the ears and really let's you feel the emotions that gave rise to several of the compositions. Smart, modern jazz, this is a solid date the slightly adventurous listener will embrace mightily. Read here.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
With an impressive discography of sixteen records as leader, extensive credentials of tenures with such luminaries as Art Blakey, Gil Evans, and Machito, and overcoming serious injuries and health issues, Shunzo Ohno certainly qualifies as a present day samurai. He embodies the Bushido Code, and his music is a reflection of this, he plays jazz as a way of life, with all its challenges and triumphs, he is never defeated. Full review here.
RAUL DA GAMA
JAZZ DA GAMA
Clearly Shunzo Ohno is no ordinary man. A spectacular trumpeter and an even greater musician, he has still not been recognised for his extraordinary musicianship. Despite the fact that he has been accorded the respect that he deserves, it might take years before legions of jazz fans to catch up to his magnificent work. Read here.
Shunzo Ohno, one of the most versatile and influential trumpeters in modern jazz, returns with ReNew, his 16th album as a leader. ReNew injects elements of traditional jazz, hip-hop, spoken word, and free jazz, creating a tapestry of modern jazz that is distinctly his own. Read here.
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
Those looking for music that rides the line between the technical flourish of a Chris Botti and the bite of a Nils Petter Molvær need look no further, for this refresher course in reflection is, despite its brief lapse into cultural appropriation, proof positive that sometimes cause matters more than effect. Read here.
PROGRESSIVE ROCK CENTRAL
Another high spot is “First Step.” This is the classic jazz piece where practically every musicians gets his noteworthy solo. Ohno uses various trumpet techniques. The electronic processed trumpet is especially mesmerizing.. Full review here.
A flawless album, already one of the best releases of this year. Read more here.
RAUL DA GAMA
JAZZ DA GAMA
Shunzo Ohno is equally compelling in the solo realm. His whispering ethereal wail speaks wonderfully on ‘Tairyo Bushi’ as he transforms traditional Japanese music into a challenging and affecting web of ideas for the trumpet as he celebrates his country in many-splendoured tonal colours, evoking a range of soundscapes. Read here.
NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD
Renew will have something for everyone. All of the songs are on point and the energy and enthusiasm that Ohno and his fellow players bring to this project are palpable throughout. Read more.