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DJ strives to keep salsa alive

It seldom ends well when a little brother defies his big brother’s orders to stay out of his room.

But venturing into his own big brother’s room worked out pretty well for Jose Munoz, who discovered in there a whole new world and, even, inspiration for a career.

Munoz — fans know him as “Baya!” DJ Jose — plays Sundays during Sam’s Town’s weekly salsa parties. He’s been DJing around town for about 20 years, and his resume includes such now-gone venues as the Shark Club and a 10-year gig at the Gold Coast.

Before moving to Las Vegas, Munoz, who’s originally from the Bronx, worked at several major New York City clubs. His own love of music was instilled in him as a kid when, during family gatherings, his mom would sing and his dad — who also announced wrestling matches — would play percussion.

Then there was his brother, a DJ who usually kept his room locked. One day, when he happened to leave the door unlocked, Munoz snuck into the room.

“I was awestruck,” Munoz says. “He had huge speakers from the ceiling to the floor and digital lighting and amps and turntables. I sat on his bed and waited for him to come home, and I said, ‘I want to do this.’ ’’

His brother began to teach Munoz a few of the basics and, at 15, Munoz played his first official solo gig, a friend’s birthday party.

Munoz came to Las Vegas around 1991 via a contract with Sony. “I worked for them for several years as their personal DJ,” he says, hosting parties and other events for the company.

In addition to working a variety of venues around town since then, Munoz hosted a salsa show on KUNV-FM, 91.5 for more than four years. Now, in addition to his Sunday gig at Sam’s Town, Munoz DJs every Thursday night at Las Vegas Rocks Cafe, 450 Fremont St. (For updates, check out Munoz’s Twitter page at twitter.com/BayaDJJose or his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BayaDJJose.) Now, as always, Munoz says, “my full intention is to bring salsa alive and keep it alive here in Las Vegas.”

“Baya!” DJ Jose plays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays in Roxy’s lounge at Sam’s Town, 5111 Boulder Highway.

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