Larry Levan Live At The Paradise Garage

Larry Levan pretty much defined the idea of dance music DJing, as the resident DJ of the famed Paradise Garage. His influence was profound on some of the most influential New York DJs who themselves have become legends (Danny Tenaglia, Frankie Knuckles and David Morales, to name but three). This double disc is a storming set of joyous disco tunes. It's one percussion breakdown after the next as he pushes and pulls at tempos and genres. The mix transcends its ingredients, though. Levan was never a technically perfect mixer; there are a few clashing tonalities and flubbed kick drums. He was, and still is, renowned for his ability to communicate with a crowd by letting the songs tell their story and then change that story with a mix. He would play songs with similar lyrical content to create an overall theme lasting several hours or a whole night. Even the home listener will find their mood elevated by this mix. The perceptive notes in the deluxe package detail fascinating topics: the Garage's importance for New York's gay community, the history of the club DJ in NYC, Levan's production career, his eccentric, perfectionist habits and his tragic death at age 38. Here's a quote: "Now that the world is so full of DJs we need a few more Larry Levans. We need people to remind us that playing records is fun. DJs who don't make mistakes just aren't taking enough risks. There is no safe road to paradise." (Strut)