Larry Levan is a disco legend. As the founder of the hugely influential Paradise Garage nightclub in New York City, as well as its most popular DJ, Levan is considered by many to be one of the greatest DJs of all time. His ingenious mix of funk and disco provided the stylistic blueprint for the house, garage, and Hi-NRG genres, and became the musical foundation for an entirely new clubland experience. Levan was also a well-known remixer and producer and created glorious extended dance edits of disco gems that remain staples in many a spinner's crate to this day. A notorious party man himself, Levan succumbed to a drug-related heart ailment in 1992.
One of the few truly legendary figures in the universe of contemporary dance music, the late, great Larry Levan revolutionized the art of the DJ with his soulful and eclectic sets, insanely audiophile rig, and consummate flair as both an innovative remixer and visionary turntable artist. Revered for the pulsing dance floor magic he created as resident DJ ast New York City's famed Paradise Garage- perhaps the most revered club in dance music history - Levan merged underground hits with popular classics of every genre to take the communal dance experience to new heights. A seminal figure in both the disco-defined '70s and house-centric '80s, his innovations reshaped dance music itself and influenced every DJ who would follow.
Love disco, but burned out on "We Are Family" and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack? Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story will satisfy your thirst for lost dance nuggets, with 22 lesser-known tracks from the likes of Chaka Khan, Sister Sledge, and many more. As DJ of NYC's Paradise Garage in the '70s and '80s, Larry Levan created a downtown alternative to the high gloss of Studio 54's exclusive celebrity scene, combining up-tempo R&B dance music with a potpourri of other styles. The Journey Into Paradise collection honors the Garage vibe by focusing mainly on unstoppable disco-era jams--if Change's top 10 R&B charting "Paradise" doesn't get your booty shaking, have a friend check your pulse--with a dose of the modern dance sounds of Yaz and Talking Heads thrown in for variety. The nine tracks included here mixed by Levan contain lush disco arrangements that break down into extended sections of beats and voice backed by minimal accompaniment, anticipating the distilled sound of the house music that would later come to rule the dance floors. On the turntable or in your car stereo, these songs paint the picture of a disco scene more focused on the music than the latest fashion, where feeling good was more important than looking good and a great beat washed away the cares of the world. --Ben Heege
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