Born July 20, 1954 in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn, New York - Died November 8, 1992 of heart failure at a mere 38 years old.
Larry is revered primarily as the DJ and driving force of the famous gay-friendly disco Paradise Garage. With engineer Richard Long, he custom-designed the Garage's sound system and DJ booth, complete with audiophile Thorens turntables.
Larry's brilliance lay not only in his technical skill and audio expertise, but also in his eclectic taste. He broadened the 'rules' of what dance music could be, mixing everything from gospel, reggae, Philly soul and Euro-disco to rock ("Stand Back"/Stevie Nicks and "Eminence Front"/The Who, to name but two), post-punk ("The Magnificent Seven"/The Clash, and Talking Heads), ambient/environmental music (Klaus Schulze and Manuel Gottsching, for example) and just about everything else.
He augmented his sets with disorienting sound effects and audio manipulations, working the crossover and balance controls to throw sound around the room as if it had a will of its own.
Larry cut his musical teeth at The Loft, essentially the first underground, afterhours disco. Started by David Mancuso at the advent of the '70s, The Loft combined psychedelic culture with proto-disco music, which then consisted of longform, psychedelic-influenced soul ("Melting Pot"/Booker T. & The MG's, "Papa Was a Rolling Stone"/The Temptations, etc.), jazz-funk like The Blackbyrds, funky rock ("Woman"/Barabas, for example) and trippy head music like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon." When "Paradise Garage" opened in 1976, Larry added gospel-and R&B-flavored disco to his musical menu.
After the Garage closed in 1987, Larry kept a considerably lower profile, doing guest spots at various clubs, including "Studio 54," "Palladium" and "Mars," and D.J.-ing regularly at "The Choice," arguably the inheritor of the Garage's underground legacy. "The Choice" didn't have the grandeur of the Garage, but Larry made it his home, casting his psychedelic spell on a diverse crowd of devoted Garage fans and various other afterhours types.
Larry Levan Discography
- 270 Remix
- 1 Vocals
- 3 Instruments & Performance
- 20 Writing & Arrangement
- 1 Featuring & Presenting
- 36 Production
- 4 DJ Mix
- 231 Technical
- 1 Visual