'Paradise Garage: Inspirations' Feat. Frankie Knuckles, Deee-Lite & More: Exclusive

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Lady Miss Kier, Supa DJ Dmitry, Booty (sunglasses) and Jungle DJ Towa Tei of dance music group Deee-Lite photographed in December 1988 in New York City.

Much of dance music's roots can be traced back to a few special dance halls; the Warehouse in Chicago, Studio 54 and The Loft in New York City, and most certainly NYC's Paradise Garage. From 1977 to 1987, club co-founder Mel Cheren and resident DJ Larry Levan hosted invitation-only dance parties where a discerning crowd of music addicts and party people helped make or break careers. Diana Ross performed there, as did a young Madonna. House godfather Frankie Knuckles was a regular, and Kenny Summit, owner of Good For You Records, has always been incredibly moved but it.

Paradise Garage closed its doors in 1987, though it has enjoyed life in other venues in the '90s and beyond, and in 2008, control of the Paradise Garage trademark was given over to AIDs-centric non-profit Gay Men's Health Crisis. It's a storied dance floor that made a lasting impression on the many DJs who played it and the musical minds who saw their horizons broadened by its light. Levan was a noted mentor to many artists, and he touched may careers with his guidance, and on Paradise Garage's latest compilation Inspirations, Summit gathered not strictly of the club's time but which maintain the energy of the Garage and Levan's creative spirit.   


"I met Mel Cheren in the mid-90's," Summit says. "We quickly became close friends. For the next 10 years, he shared with me some of the most incredible stories about the Garage. When he passed away in 2007, I made a promise to myself to honor his passing; I'm truly grateful for this opportunity to present Paradise Garage: Inspirations to the world, as not only a tribute to Mel, Larry and to the legacy of the Garage; but most importantly to raise awareness for the GMHC."   

Paradise Garage: Inspirations features 12 unreleased originals, remixes and edits from a variety of scene characters, from NYC club darlings Deee-Lite to hip-hop and house icon Todd Terry, and a remix from Summit and Knuckles of the legendary Lou Rawls, from before Knuckles' death in 2014.   

"When Eric gave me the Lou Rawls remix, I knew it was something special," Knuckles was quoted before his passing. "Kenny's approach to remixing is one of the reasons I was drawn to him; he stays true to the original while giving it a little something extra to create that magic for the dance floor. He is very much like myself in that aspect. I wanted to make sure this record was heard, and I've been a champion of the project since they played it for me."

The compilation is out on Good For You Music, complete with cover art by the Oscar-winning illustrator behind The Little Prince and The Babadook. It's available on Beatport, but fans can jump right into a compilation mix from Summit that brings the music to life below, exclusively on Billboard Dance.   


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