Billboard Bits: Ozomatli, Supergrass, Brown

News on Ozomatli, Supergrass, James Brown

OzoCharges brought against Ozomatli bassist Wil Dog Abers, percussionist Jiro Yamaguchi and manager Amy Sue-Blackman Romero during Austin, Texas' South By Southwest Music Festival will be dropped as part of an agreement with prosecutors. As previously reported, the trio clashed with police as the band took their performance from the stage to the street during an appearance at the festival.

Yamaguchi was charged with the third-degree felony of assault on a public servant and Blackman Romero with the Class B misdemeanor interference with the duties of a public servant, leaving both facing the possibility of jail time. Abers was charged with failure to obey a lawful order, which could have resulted in a fine.

During hearings on July 7 and 8, attorneys entered no contest pleas on their behalf and all were given various lengths of deferred disposition. If no offenses are committed during the period, the charges will be dismissed.

"We are relieved that we can all get on with our lives, however our cases are not closed to us until they are rightfully expunged from our records," the band says in a statement. "We still maintain the police misjudged the situation and grossly overreacted."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

10th anniversary album, "Supergrass Is 10: The Best of 94-04," will be released Sept. 28 in North America via Capitol and supported by a brief North American tour. The collection was issued last month internationally by Parlophone and debuted at No. 4 on the U.K. album chart.

The 21-track "Best of" runs from early U.K. hits like "Caught by the Fuzz" and "Sun Hits the Sky" to cuts from the group's latest studio effort, 2002's "Life on Other Planets." Also included are the new songs "Bullet" and "Kiss of Life."

Supergrass is in the studio working on the follow-up to "Life on Other Planets," which debuted at No. 10 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

BrownToday (July 20), Verve Records is issuing for the first time on CD James Brown's jazz album, "Soul on Top." Recorded in 1969 with the Louie Bellson Orchestra, it was originally released on King Records. The 12-tune collection features Oliver Nelson's arrangements and Brown's bandmate Maceo Parker Jr.'s tenor sax gales. Led by the longtime Duke Ellington Orchestra drummer, the support group includes such noteworthies as bassist Ray Brown and alto saxophonist Ernie Watts.

In the original LP's liner notes penned by jazz scribe Leonard Feather, Brown commented, "At heart I've always been a jazz man. When I was just a kid in Macon, Ga., during amateur shows, I went up onstage with some of those name bands that passed through town. I've never forgotten the impression those big-band sounds made on me."

On the album, Brown performs such romantic standards as "That's My Desire" and "It's Magic." He puts a funky jazz spin on Hank Williams' "Your Cheating Heart" and stretches out on two of his big hits, "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," given the big-band jazz treatment by Nelson. The CD also contains a previously unissued version of Brown's 1968 hit, "There Was a Time," co-written by Brown and Bud Hobgood.

-- Dan Ouelette, N.Y.