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Funk wizard Ozlo celebrates debut CD


Photo
PHOTO COURTESY OF OZLO
Ozlo (upper left) and his intrepid band of musicians will kick out several jams at Plush tomorrow night in celebration of the release of their brand-new CD.
By Mark Sussman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 27, 2005
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When the words "jazz," "funk" and "rock" come together, one name leaps to mind: Prince. But in the wake of his Purpleness' newfound association with the Jehovah's Witnesses (and his subsequent refusal to play his older, sexier material), a hole has been left in the world of sweat-drenched, ass-shaking, genre-bending jams.

Tucson's Ozlo wants to fill that hole.

"Music that other people write has definitely influenced me in my writing," said Ozlo, "but we're turning more towards originals as well because I just enjoy doing it more. We've only been together, basically, for this year. We're young, but we're planning on trying to put a bunch of new music out over the year."

Ozlo, a former trombone performance student, spent most of his life learning trumpet, piano, trombone and other instruments before a music scholarship brought him from Oregon to Tucson to attend the UA.

After dropping out and spending some time in Texas with funk combo Global Village, Ozlo returned to Tucson with the hopes of putting together a band whose sound would match his own songwriting style.

He was in luck.

"These guys were willing and able to start doing some touring and go on the road," said Ozlo of his quartet. "I played with all kinds of different guys over the years, and these are the guys who finally got it in the pocket."

At this point Ozlo is a veteran songwriter, having played and written music since he was a child. However, being a professional doesn't necessarily mean forcing your musicians to play only what you want to play.

"They each bring a little bit of themselves in the band," said Ozlo. "I try to leave a little bit of room for creative influence so they can bring something to the table. They basically play what I want, so I don't even have to say anything."

In a live setting this freedom of choice comes through, with the band running through loose funk jams, originals and classics of the genre, all led and organized by Ozlo's gritty baritone shout.

All of the gigging finally seems to be paying off for both Ozlo and his band. They recently completed their self-titled debut album, recorded at Allusions Studio in Tucson.

"This album is basically a collection of songs I've written over the last eight years," said Ozlo. "The album is all originals. We do enjoy doing covers, and doing all night shows, you have to do a lot of that to keep the kids into it. I've been doing a lot of writing. I've got a lot of jazz influence and stuff. I kind of dig that."

To celebrate the release of his first record, Ozlo is having a CD-release party at Plush tomorrow night. Joined by friends and fellow local acts the Matt Mitchell Trio, Mankind and the Deludes, Ozlo promises "a raging good time."

Ozlo's CD-release party is tomorrow night at Plush, 340 E. 6th St. The cover is $3 and the first band, the Matt Mitchell Trio, will take the stage at 6 p.m. This show is 21 and over.



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