Basic Background Info
Jiro Yamaguchi is a Japanese percussionist and tabla player. Jiro Yamaguchi is a member of the multi-ethnic rock/fusion band Ozomatli, based out of Southern California. The founding band members were looking for a percussionist when they discovered Jiro Yamaguchi playing tabla at a South Indian vegetarian hotspot called Paru's on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Ozomatli's founders were all members of the Peace and Justice Center of Los Angeles. In fact, they first performed as a band for picketers during a strike. When Vibe wrote a review of the band, mainstream audiences started paying attention. Their self-titled debut, released in 1998, easily found a fan base. They went on tour and opened for Carlos Santana on his Supernatural tour.
Ozomatli released their second album on September 11, 2001, and immediately toured in support of the release. All the while, they spoke out in support of social justice, progressive politics, and, eventually, the anti-war movement. In pursuit of their open-minded mission, Ozomatli incorporated North African and Arabic elements into their music. They continued that worldly endeavor with 2004's Street Signs. Their fourth album, Don't Mess with the Dragon, debuted in 2007.
Following the release of their fourth album, Jiro and Ulises Bella described their music in an NPR interview: "You drive down Sunset Boulevard and turn off your stereo and roll down your windows and all the music that comes out of each and every different car, whether it's salsa, cumbia, merengue, or hip hop, funk or whatever, it's that crazy blend that's going on between that cacophony of sound is Ozomatli, y'know?"
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