The collaborative concert featuring the Latin/funk/jazz/hip-hop group Ozomatli (pictured) and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, announced earlier this year and originally scheduled for next Friday, May 14 at Powell Symphony Hall, is off.
Instead, Ozomatli will perform on their own, without any members of the SLSO, at 8 p.m. on May 14 at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room. (The band also will do an in-store appearance down the street at Vintage Vinyl at 5:30 p.m. that day.)
According to the minimal information posted on the SLSO website, tickets purchased for the Powell Hall performance cannot be used at Blueberry Hill; for a refund, call 314-534-1700. Tickets for the Blueberry Hill performance are on sale now for $15 via Ticketmaster.
Ticketing arrangements aside, the interesting question is: What happened? This sort of relatively last-minute change is not uncommon in popular music, but most major orchestras, including the SLSO, plan their season schedules well in advance and generally tend to stick to them, unless a featured performer becomes ill, injured or otherwise suddenly unavailable.
In this case, that doesn't seem to be what happened, since Ozomatli is still coming to St. Louis to perform. And it's unlikely that money was a sticking point, since they're going ahead with the show at a venue that has a mere fraction of Powell Hall's seating capacity, and therefore, offers commensurately smaller earning potential. That in turn suggests that the SLSO were the ones who may have pulled the plug on the collaboration.
So what would cause them to cancel just nine days before the concert was scheduled to happen? No one's talking, but an educated guess would be that something went wrong with regard to the orchestral arrangements - the parts didn't arrive on time, weren't notated in the expected manner, were arranged for the wrong instrumentation, or were otherwise found by someone in authority at the SLSO to be unplayable, given the allocated amount of rehearsal time.
This is speculation, of course, and unless someone from Ozomatli or the SLSO provides an explanation, we may never know the real story, or whether there's any chance the event might be rescheduled at a later date. Too bad, because the notion of the two groups playing together certainly presented some interesting sonic possibilities...