Ozomatli’s music is as multifaceted as its members and influences. Meeting as young political activists and musicians, the original band formed in Los Angeles in 1995 to play a notorious urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga – all while following a key mantra: it will take you around the world by taking you around Los Angeles.
Their music has been recognized and celebrated widely -having won four Grammy Awards, serving as official US Cultural Ambassadors playing to audiences around the world, and here in the City of LA, April 23rd is designated Ozomatli Day in recognition of their immense contribution to the cultural life of our city.
Over the course of Ozomatli’s 25 year career, the group has sold hundreds of thousands of albums, consistently sold out concerts around the world, and performed on high profile TV shows like The Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel, Tonight Show w/Jay Leno, and Austin City Limits. The band also stars in Drew Barrymore’s Never Been Kissed and has been featured on PBS Kids.
“MONGORAMA” is a latin-jazz ensemble formed by KJazz 88.1 radio personality Jose Rizo (host of ‘Jazz on the Latin Side’), exploring the early Mongo Santamaria charanga-jazz material of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Conga legend Mongo Santamaria, saxophonist Chombo Silva and flautist Rolando Lozano performed an exciting latin jazz sound driven by cuban charanga rhythms and straight ahead jazz. “MONGORAMA” celebrates this music preserving the classic charanga-jazz element , yet refreshing it with a modern perspective.
“MONGORAMA” will feature tenor saxophonist Justo Almario and flautist Danilo Lozano revisiting the explorations of saxophonist Chombo Silva and flautist Rolando Lozano (Danilo’s Dad). Rounding out the ensemble is Dayren Santamaria (violin), James Zavaleta (lead vocals), Ramon Banda (timbales), Joey De Leon (congas), Alfredo Ortiz (perc/vocals), Rene Camacho (bass), and Joe Rotondi (piano).
The debut self-titled “MONGORAMA” CD(on Saungu Records) received a Grammy nomination last year. The CD includes special guests Hubert Laws and Poncho Sanchez, performing early Mongo Santamaria material, freshly arranged by Oscar Hernandez and Francisco Torres. The Mongorama 2nd CD, “Baila Que Baila“, again features conguero, Poncho Sanchez, and also features Jazz guitar legend, Kenny Burrell, performing on one of his classic compositions.
The new Mongorama CD “Mariposas Cantan” (means … butterflies sing) charted on the national Jazz Charts (JazzWeek) at #10. This new CD includes 6 more originals and early Mongo Santamaria and Cal Tjader compositions. This 3rd Mongorama CD includes original members Justo Almario (tenor sax), Danilo Lozano (flute), Dayren Santamaria (violin), Joey De Leon (congas), Joe Rotondi (piano), Alfredo Ortiz (bongo/guiro/voc), late-great timbalero Ramon Banda and lead vocalist James Zavaleta (from Dancing With The Stars). Visit our website for more information at www.saungu.com