Celebrating Black History: Pioneers of house music - - Mixmag

Celebrating Black History: Pioneers of house music

A trip through the timeline of dance music

  • Harrison Williams
  • 21 February 2017
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Larry Levan

Although known primarily for his eclectic DJ sets during the disco era, Larry Levan’s influence on house music and DJ culture helped the scene flourish in New York City. He was a close friend of Frankie Knuckles and the two artists learned the art of DJing together from Nicky Siano, the owner of the legendary disco club The Gallery. Levan’s skill in the DJ booth would gain the attention of David Mancuso of The Loft and also earn him a residency at the iconic NYC venue Paradise Garage.

Although Levan’s career was clouded by drug addiction for some time, he made a comeback in the 90s when he travelled to London to perform at Ministry of Sound. He would spend an extended amount of time there and helped tune the MoS sound system.

MoS co-founder Justin Berkmann expressed his sentiment on how important Levan was to dance music: “Each generation and industry has its seemingly divinely inspired geniuses. Galileo, Picasso, Gaudí, Jobs and I believe Levan is worthy to be added to that list. He invented nothing particularly, but his modus operandi influenced a generation of DJs.”

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