In the often futuristic realm of electronic dance music it's easy to forget there is also a strong strain of reverence for the highest forms of pop musicianship. DJ Louie Vega often recalls his salsa heritage, Dennis Ferrer elevates his grooves with gospel, and jazz accentuates the palette of one Mark Farina.
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The latter, who will DJ Tuesday in Newport Beach, is the West Coast's DJ laureate. A Bay Area spinner with deep appreciation for soulful chops and improvisation, Farina led a conga line of second-wave house music DJs from Chicago to the Golden State in the 1990s. His Mushroom Jazz mix-CD series single-handedly inspired a genre -- composed of jazzy, psychedelic down-tempo grooves -- that carved out a niche in clubland. But he's also known for his loopy, brassy, big-room house music.
It might seem paradoxical: People who play other people's music for a living espousing salsa, soul and jazz influences as the high notes of popular music. But, if you hear a Farina set, you'll realize that his prism presents a new mash-up medium, artistic in its own right, that wouldn't have been possible in the era of the bandleader. Big bands collide, disco meets nu electro, and the groove is as linear as software code. With DJs like Farina, the best of the past has a bright future on the dance floor.
Mark Farina spins Tuesday, October 6 at Tapas, 4253 Martingale Way, Newport Beach. 18+. Doors at 9:30. $15 before 10:30 p.m. with RSVP; $20 after. Info: focus-oc.com.
Check out a stream of Mark Farina in the mix, here.