The 10 members of Ozomatli have one central characteristic in common: They're all from Los Angeles. From there, their musical paths diverge as the individual tastes, ethnicities and approaches to creation reveal themselves, only to converge again on the backside of the circle as they gather to make music. Granted, in any group so large you're bound to find variety, but seldom do these tastes coalesce in such an imaginative fashion an amalgam of salsa, funk, hip-hop, reggae and jazz.
You can hear it best on the quickie cut "Eva," from their debut CD, Ozomatli (Almo Sounds): a solid breakbeat kicks in, followed by the click-clack of castanets, the acoustic bite of a salsa guitar, a fiery horn section that punctuates a rhythm locked tight in a pelvic groove, and loads of cutting and scratching (on the album, the skills are courtesy of Cut Chemist of Jurassic 5) to add some flava. Add an emcee (Chali 2na, also of Jurassic 5), and you've got a wild, inspired sound. If you need some name-brand props, Ozomatli has been opening shows on tours by both the Dave Matthews Band and Santana (Carlos thinks the band is the "future of music"). Note: Neither Cut Chemist nor Chali 2na will be performing at this show, though both will be playing Karma as part of Jurassic 5 in August. Show of the week, no doubt.