Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell Artist You Should Know

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From KCRW DJ Raul Campos:

The term DJ/Producer is one that’s been blurred over the last few years.  Just because a DJ gets a couple keyboards and a computer doesn’t make them a remixer and/or a producer…and vice versa, putting turntables in the hands of a musician doesn’t make them a DJ.

It’s rare when an artist can do both, let alone do it well.

New York DJ, music producer and record label owner Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell is one of those guys that can wear any hat flawlessly! I’ve been following his career as DJ and picking up his tunes from his labels Spiritual Life and Sacred Rhythm for decades.

It came to the point that I started buying his records without even listening to them first.  They were the no brainers that would end up in my crate for a long time.

As one third of the crew that comprises Body and Soul, Joe — along with collaborators Francios K and Danny Krivit — plays host to one of the most respected parties in DJ history.  Body and Soul parties in NYC have led the crew to tour to sold crowds all over the world and critically-acclaimed compilations.  With the huge respect he commands from DJs all around the world, it’s no wonder why Joaquin ‘Joe’ Claussell is one of the small handful we call “A DJ’s DJ!”.

His skills aren’t all that make him who he is as an artist.  The joy that comes from checking out Joe while he deejays is not just dancing to great tunes being spun til the wee hours, but the whole experience of what he brings.

Watching him while he DJs is just as exciting!  He’s so animated behind the decks it’s as if he’s having some kind of spiritual connection with each and every tune.  This energy he creates with his audience is like no other.  You can’t help but feel the joy he builds in a room.  His head starts to tilt back, the eyes almost roll into the back of his head and the larger than life smile grows from ear to ear!

Fast forward to 2011 and he’s taken on the daunting task of remixing some of the classic Fania catalog.  Hammock House: Africa Caribe is a beautiful, two-disc collection that does just that. Today is the release date and here is a sample:

Stream “Mambo Mongo (Joaquin Joe Claussell Remix)” – Mongo Santamaria

Download here

There are a bunch of great producers in the world of dance, but there is nobody more perfect for this project than Mr. Claussell.  Growing up with this music and with a brother who’s been a long time percussionist for Eddie Palmieri, his history and sensibility goes hand in hand with this type of project.  He knows these classics have to be respected and treasured for the songs that they are and a movement and inspiration they created back then and continue to do so today.  I understand the mentality that some classics shouldn’t be messed with, but I don’t doubt for one second that Claussell would be one to disrespect these tunes.  It’s a creative new way of taking them to a new audience that may not have known them otherwise.

I hope you get to experience this true artist as rocks the house with his six-piece band at Grand Performances on July 22, 2011 at 8pm (along with Palenke Soultribe). It will definitely be a gorgeous night of music, dancing and life under the stars amongst the skyscrapers of downtown LA. It’s totally free and yours truly is hosting.

Find out more here and see you there!

– Raul Campos

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