Adam Jensen

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February 12, 2014
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Farina sustains 'Mushroom Jazz' legacy

West Coast jazz will meet East Coast hip-hop and house music when Mark Farina performs at Lakeside Tahoe City Saturday.

The San Francisco DJ has been a staple of the electronic music scene for more than two decades and has played to millions of fans around the world.

Farina is probably best known for his “Mushroom Jazz” series, which arose out of Chicago’s house music scene and came of age in San Francisco in the early 1990s. “Mushroom Jazz” became an official release in 1996. The down-tempo mix of hip-hop, jazz and soul has spawned six sequels while becoming its own sub-genre in the world of electronic music.

“It wasn’t quite hip-hop and it wasn’t quite acid jazz,” Farina said of the first album on Tuesday, while preparing to work on some house remixes for Snoop Dogg.

The “Mushroom Jazz” sound, with its laid back funk and early 1990s hip-hop influences, has served as gateway drug for more than a few electronic music fans, Farina said.

“It seems like its always been a good crossover for people that didn’t really come from an all-electronic music background, to sort of swing them toward listening to some electronic as well,” Farina said.

He said he’s excited to see a new generation embrace electronic music and hopes they keep digging into the genre.

“Mushroom Jazz 7” was released in 2011 and represents the evolution of Farina’s pioneering sound.

“Like its predecessors, MJ7 features Farina’s signature hip hop, jazz-infused, downtempo, dance floor friendly beats,” according to a preview on “This time around, he deftly mixed and arranged tracks by some of the world’s most dynamic artists including Andy Caldwell, Billa Qause, Colossus, Combined, Dave Allison, Derek Dunbar, Gian & Michael Knight, Jazz Spastiks, Joshua Heath, Lurob, Slakah the Beatchild, Tommy Largo and Uneaq....Overall, MJ7 is Farina’s most ambitious release to date, showcasing the evolution of nearly 3 decades of defining the genre he’s credited with creating.”

Farina is scheduled to perform a more than three-hour set Saturday. He doesn’t plan his sets ahead of time, letting the mood of the party sway his song choices. New disco has been popping up in his sets as a way to transition from the up-tempo house tracks to the 100 beats per minute typical of the “Mushroom Jazz” material, Farina said.

How the music performs live is often a matter of geography, Farina said, with some regions preferring amped up dance takes and others taking the slow road. Farina, who has played Lakeside Tahoe City before, said he likes the venue, the soundsystem and the crowd.

Numerous Farina mixes are available at

DJ Blue 42 opens Saturday’s show.

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Sierra Sun Updated Feb 13, 2014 12:14PM Published Feb 12, 2014 02:58PM Copyright 2014 Sierra Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.