Ozomatli

Street Signs

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Los Angeles-based Ozomatli are a new kind of American band, a band reflecting the multiracial and multicultural One World demographics of the 21st century. Drawing on musical sources as diverse as salsa, hip-hop, rock, jazz, funk, Tejano, and reggae, Ozomatli appear to be trying to be all things to all people, but amazingly, they pull it off more times than they don't, and even when their increasingly inclusive experiments fall short, they still manage to offer up new creative possibilities. With the release of Street Signs you can add Middle Eastern music to the mix, and once again, the sheer number of ingredients they manage to pack into their sound is impressive, beginning with "Believe," the album opener, which should be all over pop radio with its full, deep, and anthemic sound (that it isn't all over the radio says a lot more about the current state of radio than it does Ozomatli). "Te Estou Buscando" and "Saturday Night" are also impressive, but the real highlight here is the appearance of legendary jazz and salsa pianist Eddie Palmieri on two tracks, the brief and lovely "Dona Isabelle" and "Nadie Te Tira," a blast of horn-drenched salsa that underscores an obvious point about Ozomatli: aside from their considerable cultural, political, and musical import, this is one hell of a dance band.

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