Basic Background Info

Birth: Unknown
Location: Unknown
Band: Ozomatli
Genres: Rock, Fusion
Instruments: Drums, Percussion
Occupation: Musician


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?"


Album Year Album Name Album Band
2000 Menace to Sobriety OPM
2000 Ozomatli Ozomatli
2001 Embrace the Chaos Ozomatli
2001 Live John Leguizamo
2002 And Now It's Come to This Seven Nations
2002 For All Time Soluna
2002 Mas Alla Slowrider
2002 Shaman Santana
2003 4 Kumbia Kings
2003 Coming Up Ozomatli
2004 Street Signs Ozomatli
2005 Concord Picante 25th Anniversary Collection Various Artists
2005 KCRW Presents: Sounds Eclectico Various Artists
2005 Live at the Fillmore Ozomatli
2005 Look at All the Love We Found: A Tribute to Sublime Various Artists
2006 Explorations: Classic Picante Regrooved Various Artists
2006 Here Comes Memory Tom Langford
2006 Some Bridges Fred Martin & the Levite Camp
2006 Sonic Scenery: Music for Collections Various Artists
2006 Whipped Cream & Other Delights Rewhipped Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass
2007 Don't Mess with the Dragon Ozomatli
2007 SXSW Live 2007 Various Artists
2009 On Sacred Ground: Mother & Son Eligh & Jo Wilkinson
2010 Fire Away Ozomatli
2012 Ozokids Ozomatli
2014 Place Under the Sun Ozomatli


  • Jiro's first rock concert was Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbows at the Budokan in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Ozomatli toured through Tunisia, Jordan, and Egypt during the summer of 2007. The U.S. State Department sponsored the tour of amphitheatres, citadels, and forts.
  • Jiro played congas in a samba group on a float in the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco.
  • In 2004, Jiro was arrested for assaulting a police officer with his drum, though other band members and witnesses said that it was clearly an accident.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Hardware: Drum Workshop

Pics & Clips