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A Smooth, Inviting Mix of Varied Cultures

In an era when bands throw any exotic sound they can get ahold of and blend it just to see what happens, Ozomatli surprises with the ease and command with which it metamorphoses American funk into salsa spice, and vice versa.

A tune such as “Cumbia,” which begins like a juicy copy of the traditional dance/music form, is elevated into another dimension through the propulsive bass of Wil-Dog, and then transformed into an altogether different animal by Chali 2na’s bouncy rapping.

You’ll find no digital gimmicks here. T-Ray’s production has preserved the band’s inviting warmth exactly as it sounds live. This treasure-trove of delights includes brief glimpses into coquettish merengue, soul-burning jazz, languid Mexican ballads and sinuous Indian ragas, to name a few.

The fact that so few rough spots can be found in “Ozomatli” is nothing short of outstanding. If anything, the inconsistencies are welcome because they demonstrate that the band has room to grow. When the new millennium arrives, Ozomatli might just be the band to celebrate it with.

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