The 5th Annual African Diaspora Arts Festival is Saturday August 19th, 2023 from 12noon – 7pm
The next Open Turntable Session is Sunday June 4th, 2023 at 1pm “What Does Love Sound Like?”
Every 1st Sunday we host the Open Turntable Sessions at Four City Brewing Company. We allow the patrons to play music from their collection or from our crates. This is a open format event and we play music of all genres. I’m a House Head at heart but I love a little bit of everything (rooted in the African Diaspora). Technically speaking, that is almost everything… Jazz, Rock, Blues, Dance, Hip Hop, Reggae, Country and on and on! The session on is special because it’s my BIRTHDAY!!! Catch is I will only be there for the set up because I have a DJ set to play at Same rules, Newbies play 3 records, seasoned DJ’s play a little longer. We use Serato and the RANE 62 Mixer, so digital DJ’s can rock too. There is a catch… U must use our virtual crates and U have to play utilizing the TURNTABLES! We are challenging DJ’s who use controllers to step outside their comfort zone. The name of the event is OPEN TURNTABLE SESSIONS for a reason, LOL! As always there is no cover, just good music, dope art and great beer. There are more details below as you read on. Again we do this every first Sunday. Follow the links and share with friends.
DJ’s Kortez and Adam Cruz of MixTape Sessions share their love of DJ culture in a two part series at the East Orange Public Library. The first event is Thursday May 4th at 6pm. This is the Open Turntable Session where we recreate what Gathering of Tribes has been hosting every 1st Sunday at Four City Brewing and 3rd Sunday at Hackensack Brewing. Everyone is welcome to participate. We will have vinyl on hand to play or U can bring your own vinyl. Since it’s only 2 hours, we will have limited slots for DJ’s. If U were ever curious about DJ culture, U don’t want to miss this event. This is a free public event!
The 2nd part of the series is DJ’s Kortez and Adam Cruz discussing the history of House Music from Asbury Park to East Orange, NJ has a rich musical history. We will also be discussing Adam’s book titled Free The Music Business, Tips and Tales from an Indie Music Nerd. This event is Thursday May 18th from 6pm to 8pm as well. Adam will have his book available for sale and will sign your copy. Please note the book being introduced to the East Orange Libraries collection and will be available for all to check out. Both events are free and open to the public. This is how we share DJ culture and control the narrative.
The BierWax promo for our Vinyl DJ set on April 2nd, 2023
Sunday April 2nd I’m celebrating my BIRTHDAY @ BierWax located at 556 Vanderbilt Ave in BK! Myself, DJ Dan C.E. and DJ April are also on the decks celebrating their birthdays too. BierWax has become synonymous for DJ’s spinning vinyl. There is a steady rotation of local DJ’s & folks come from all over to listen and participate. We are doing a special 80’s House, Post Disco all vinyl sets. I’m curating music rooted in Chicago labels like Trax, DJ International and other classic labels and fusing it with some new wave, pop and obscure modern tracks. I love to blend current music with the past simply because I can do it. So come thru and help me celebrate my 56th BIRTHDAY 4pm to 7pm! As always there is no cover, just good music, dope art and great beer! It’s going to be a BLAST!
The promo from our Gathering of Tribe Sessions
Art created by DJ Adam Cruz
May 6th, 2022 was the last BORN AGAIN VINYL SESSION at House of BAV in East Orange NJ.
A classic “Born Again Vinyl” Promo
If you are interested in hosting a Open TurnTable Event at your establishment, please reach out via email at DJKortezis@gmail.com or text me directly at 732 610 2146. Also leave a message at 732 851 3434.
Note that we are looking for DJ’s who spin a little bit off the beaten path. If you spin genres of music that aren’t of the main stream and especially music coming from the African Diaspora, please hit us up. Also if you sit around and complain that you have no place to play due to the main stream formats are not your cup of tea, reach out and lets connect. There are so many opportunities if you are will to think outside the box… We are running around the box, setting things off!!
DJ KV of Feel It Radio
There is so much that makes up DJ Kortez AKA Mojito Jones and the creator of Gathering of Tribes, (formerly Born Again Vinyl, a name coined by dear friend, DJ, Playwright and Podcast host of For the Love of House Podcast, Mark Henderson). The DJ/artist was the 2nd half of House of BAV, a sustainable Fashion boutique in East Orange NJ. The boutique is actually “Home of Born Again Vintage“, a sustainable fashion line created by upcycle designer Bridgett Artise. The store became a creative hub for the artist who sells his art and collaborations on fashion. The music from the start was one of the things that makes the boutique unique but the music didn’t start there. Kortez has been a DJ since 1984 and his introduction to DJ Culture was during the Sunday afternoon parties hosted by the Pegasus Disco in Midtown NYC in the late70’s. Kortez’s older Brother Demmick Peace attended the night club and was a regular at the Paradise Garage. So from the very beginning Kortez was taught the differences of so-called mainstream and underground culture and he naturally felt more at home with the underground. When Kortez was becoming a teen and finding himself in the music, Hip Hop was becoming a new music force and neighborhood DJ’s were becoming a staple in suburban Black neighborhoods.
By 1984 Kortez was assisting local DJ Ian Francis with his parties and he wanted to focus on scratching and cutting. Ian stressed the importance of mixing before trying to learn all the tricks. Ian frequented clubs like Zanzibar in Newark and Club 12 which was an underground spot located in Asbury Park NJ. Both clubs played Club Music and House Music from a Black perspective. After hearing this new sound Kortez began to focus on the music that was being created in Chicago/Detroit and combining it with the NYC/NJ Club sound that was coming out of Zanzibar, The Garage and Club 88. Since Kortez was located in Central NJ, he frequented Clubs like Mingles, Club 35 which later became Club Abyss. Although Kortez would never spin at these night clubs, being a patron Kortez saw the difference in the crowds and because of those differences, Kortez always wanted and has maintained a focus on underground music and culture.
While studying the nuances of the nightlife, this was also the beginning of his arts education at The Newark School of Fine & Industrial Arts. This period started in 1989 where Kortez began to purposely fuse fine arts, fashion and DJ Culture. Kortez started painting on clothes during the onset of the Hip Hop era in High School but by the time he got to college, he saw this as an opportunity to stand out. Painting on Denim Jackets, pants & sneakers were starting to become visually connected to Hip Hop. Artists such as Keith Haring and Jean Michael Basqiuat were incorporating DJ Culture and Hip Hop into their creative practice. As Hip Hop and Graffiti were starting to become a part of the so called mainstream, Kortez began to focus on the underground House scene. During this time Kortez began to notice how so called RACE was infused into DJ Culture and the art scene just like it was with everything else. Because Kortez had a love of many genres it was kind of hard for Kortez to find a comfort zone and difficult to connect to an audience because most people weren’t as open to different music.
Growing up in the New Jersey suburbs most of the music that dominated the airwaves was a combination of Jersey Shore rock n Roll by the likes of Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen and the mainstream pop music and Hip Hop that was coming from NY radio. At the very same time you also had this Jersey Club sound happening and NYC was thriving with clubs all over the place with new music there as well. The New Jersey Shore sound and the NJ Club/House sounds were two completely different sounds and like to or not, so called race was at the root of it. The Club scene was and still is segregated. As the music being created for and by Black people began to become more popular, you started to see a fusion happen and this would seem apparent from the patrons of particular clubs. Keep in mind, it wasn’t just a Black and White thing.
The Latin influence on popular music and culture was also happening, especially in NY and Jersey. The popular Club Abyss was a stone’s throw from Perth Amboy NJ and one of the largest Latino populations in the state. That alone was definitely going to have an influence on the music being played in Central Jersey. Keep in mind NYC clubs like the Latin Quarter, The Tunnel, The Limelight, Nell’s, Red Zone, Save The Robots, Life, and so many other spots were also becoming popular places to hear the latest music and it was all becoming more mixed due to the influence of Black and Latino music in the 80’s. Genres like Freestyle, Hip Hop, House and New Wave were beginning to fuse together. Figure all of this is happening during the developmental stages of Kortez’s artistic and DJ career. As this was was going on on the local level, House Music worked its way to the UK and the rest of the world. Because of this Kortez couldn’t help but notice music from Europe. Groups like Kraftwerk, The Thompson Twins, Culture Club and other New Wave acts from Europe were really making a splash on American radio and club scene. Kortez then became aware of groups stateside like Ministry, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode and Blondie. Because of this musical palette, it created a very unique opportunity for Kortez and it’s apparent in his DJ sets to this very day.
By the early late 80’s and early 90’s Kortez was more focused on art and began attending the Newark School of Fine & Industrial Arts in Newark NJ. That was Kortez’s introduction to a more personal connection to Zanzibar and other Newark hot spots. He was doing Flyers for Club Sensations, Club 280 and other private underground parties and during this time Kortez met artist Jerry Gant. Jerry was more attuned to the Hip Hop and Poetry scene and was making a name for himself as a Graf writer in Newark NJ. “My meeting Jerry was so influential to what I saw myself doing in the future. With Jerry, he totally understood my wanting to fuse the music with the art. There were very few people within my circle who saw the connection, Jerry was a visionary and thats why we became close friends.” The two remained friends until Jerry’s death in 2018. The relationship with Jerry is a book all in itself and the artist plans to speak on that subject more in the future.
After college Kortez worked mostly in retail doing windows for outfits like Nordstrom, The Gap and a boutique called SCREEEM. It was SCREEEM that opened Kortez up to the opportunity of DJ in a retail spaces and incorporating his talents as an artist. In total Kortez and a crew of artists painted 14 stores NJ, NY, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. This was around 1995 and Kortez was also making a name for himself on the local NJ rave scene after locking down a DJ residency at a Screeem sister store called Jean Country. While venturing out on this new frontier called RAVE. Kortez saw the need to go back to his soulful roots to stand out on the Rave circuit. Again, so called RACE rearing it’s ugly head.
The artist/DJ stated, “Most of the DJ’s on the RAVE scene were White dudes and they played a more aggressive style of House Music. There was very few Black DJ’s in the circles I was rolling in. Although I was used to it and the guys I was close to were very open minded, it was still difficult to get bookings. U would have 10 DJ’s on a line up for the night and for the most part, they all sounded the same. Because of this, I felt the need to sound different. At the time I was interning at Strictly Rhythm and passing out flyers for the Subliminal Sessions. The Wednesday night party that was frequented by HOUSE Royalty.” This is where Kortez met some of his DJ heroes like Erick Morillo, Masters At Work, Armand Van Helden and the legendary Todd Terry. It all started to come together and the music he was listening to at these events was so different from what was playing on the rave scene. So Kortez began to incorporate Speed Garage, Soulful House and House Classics on the Rave circuit and it definitely made him stand out…maybe too much! Kortez said, “It would open doors and shut them at the same time. Sounding different was a blessing and a curse“. But he still pushed on with his unique style of mixing.
Fast forward to this very day, the Kortez sound is a blend of genres and eras with a focus on House and music from the African Diaspora. Kortez’s art and his DJing at times become one. Kortez states, “The music influences the canvas and the canvas inspires the music I play.” So to experience Kortez as a creative, one can’t help but notice his passion for both visual art and music. Kortez says, “For so long I tried to keep the two separate (art and music). So many people, especially my Father, couldn’t see the reason for the connection. It wasn’t until I fully embraced my love of both, that things started falling in place. I have a full understanding that I can’t do both at once, thus the reason for my creative collaborations. By uniting with like minded people, I’m able to do so much more.” With that said, Kortez leaves his ego at the door and treasures the creativity of other artists and DJ’s who share the same passion. Sample Kortez’s style of mixing on his podomatic and soundcloud platforms. For Booking Kortez and the DJ’s affiliated with him, check out the information below.
DJ and Live Painting Bookings
732 851 3434