Face to Face, Gary Burton and Makoto Ozone
Breakout, Makoto Ozone (Verve)
If you're a fan of one, you're a fan of the other, and you've got to have these discs. Burton says he and Makoto Ozone can read each other's minds, and their duets (Burton on vibes and Ozone on piano) are among the fastest, most precise, and most harmonious in jazz today.
Ozone has played with Burton groups on four or five other discs over the past 10 years. But they've kept their approach fresh and challenging even while dicing melodies with the accuracy of a Benihana chef. My favorite on this new disc is ''Opus Half,'' a whirlwind treatment of a Benny Goodman standard that you'll play endlessly. They also stop for romantic versions of ''My Romance'' and ''For Heaven's Sake.'' Burton is now the acknowledged master of the modern vibraphone, so far out in front that he's likely not to be caught by anyone. Even people who don't like this macaronic instrument are in awe of the sound.
You may have to look harder for the second disc. My copy, produced last year in Tokyo, was spirited out of Japan by special arrangement with Fujita Express, but Tower records is expecting the US release any day.
In many ways Ozone is Burton's protege, having studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston where he caught Burton's fierce dedication to technique. But Ozone is also among the top composers working today. In his new disc - completely solo - he has written all the songs displaying a lyric sense, a romantic simplicity, and an intriguing variety. He borrows heavily and respectfully from the greats, but where he borrows and updates, as in ''Bullet Trane,'' the results are wonderful.
The young Ozone has little more to accomplish in technique and improvisation, but a world ahead in writing, since he understands not only the infinity of jazz composition but the soft comfort of song.