Telluride Jazz Celebration: Ozomatli

Telluride Jazz Celebration: Ozomatli

[click "Play" button to hear Ozomatli's Ulises Bella]

OZObyJonCoulthard268 Telluride Jazz Celebration's impresario Paul Machado programs for cultural diversity, including everything from mainstream to mariachi. This year, booking one act alone, he could have covered all his bases.

Ozomatli plays a notorious mash of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East L.A. r&b and New Orleans second line, Jamaican reggae, Indian raga and rock.

Ozomatli. The name comes from the Nahuatl word for the Aztec astrological symbol of the monkey, also a god of dance, fire, the new harvest – and music.

The original members of the Afro-Latino groove machine met through their affiliation with the Peace and Justice Center of L.A. Their first performance in 1995 was for picketers during a strike.

Carlos Santana gave the band one of its early breaks as his opening act during his 1998 tour to promote Supernatural.

In 2007, the group was named official Cultural Ambassadors, representing the U.S. State Department and they returned just one month ago from a tour to Burma, Vietnam and Thailand.

How in the world did a multi-racial neighborhood-spanning product of post-riot L.A. wind up on the world stage?

Ulises Bella is one of the original Ozo 6. He plays sax, requinto jarocho, keyboard, melodica, and does background vocals. Press the "play" button on his podcast to learn about the groups magical mystery tour to the top.

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