Mark Farina

Mushroom Jazz 4

OM Records

Rating: three stars.

Portabella, Shiitake and Jazz are all types of mushrooms, believe it or not. It just so happens that Mark Farina is responsible for the latter of the three. Farina’s long awaited new installment to the ever-popular Mushroom Jazz series has finally arrived. A series of compilations of smooth downtempo R&B, soul, hip-hop, and house, Mushroom Jazz has long been lauded among chill-out fans for its choice track selections.

It’s outside the realm of the chill-out aficionado that Mushroom Jazz gets a little sketchy. With a product this “genrefied,” it’s bound to invite some head-scratching among newer Mushroom Jazz listeners. Name dropping obscure tracks by urban music favorites like Pete Rock, Scienz of Life and Fat Jon may impress the hardcore fan, but it remains somewhat unapproachable for the uninitiated. But as far as mixing abilities and track selection Farina is the coolest DJ in school. Nearly a 22-year veteran of the Chicago and San Francisco club scenes, his blending and matching skills are always perfect and as smooth as the music. It doesn’t hurt to have underground hip-hop stars People Under the Stairs make an appearance either.

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