There are few labels who will get the opportunity to work extensively with the most dynamic remixers, DJ’s and producers of this decade. BBE seems to keep coming up trumps. Grammy Award Winner Louie Vega has been on top of the DJ game for over 2 decades. He gained further notoriety as part of the collective known as ‘Masters At Work’ with Kenny Gonzalez form a formidable partnership reminiscent of the greatest producers of yesteryear.
Quincy did it with Chaka Khan, James Ingram, Al Jarreau and The Brothers Johnson, while Gamble and Huff did it with Archie Bell and The Drells, Harold Melvin and The Bluenotes, Teddy Pendergrass and MFSB. Masters At Work has produced records for George Benson, Tito Puente, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Simply Red and Marc Anthony (a small list of the artists they have worked with, we suggest you check out their anniversary albums on BBE for a more comprehensive list).
What is the connection? Their versatility. ‘Louie Vega’s early years revolved around a series of events and relationships that compelled him to assume the role of musical alchemist. Louie grew up in an environment where Latin music was as common as bread and water, and the sound of the emerging New York underground was always within earshot. Being too young to visit club’s with his older sisters Vega tapped into the roller disco scene in 1979 – “That’s when I first heard ‘Good Times’” he remembers, He also tapped into the local Hip Hop scene. His first visit to the Paradise Garage in 1980 sealed Louie’s destiny as a music maker – ‘I just stood there in awe watching Larry Levan work the sound system and play tracks I’ve never heard so powerful’ Louie Vega remembers.
This compilation has been put together to highlight the fact that the high-energy dance music that graced dance floors throughout the seventies and eighties is very much relevant today. The nerds amongst you will be surprised, as we were, to discover the intricate levels of filtering and phasing that went into Stevie Wonder’s ‘Songs In The Key of Life’ LP, and there is a recognizable strand of today’s disco influenced dance producers applying the trickery of pioneers such as Larry Levan, Arthur Baker and Patrick Adams.
Full marks if you acquire this album – not only for supporting the movement but also for acknowledging the great fusion that disco was and still is. With sprinklings of African, Latin, jazz, funk and electro pop rhythms the production today is tighter in some instances but still breathy, sexy, up tempo and ultimately for the sweaty dance floor. Whilst Louie circles the globe spreading his musical message, this compilation manages to capture some of the magic he brings to the various dancefloors.