Musical Odyssey

Junior Vasquez

Many of Junior Vasquez's earliest underground hits were released under the name "Ellis D," including the seminal gay house track, "Work This Pussy." Vasquez also released the tracks "Just Like a Queen," "My Lolleata," "It's Scratched," and "Took my Love Away" under the name "Ellis D." The style of the tracks release under the pseudonym "Ellis D" are largely credited today with having influenced the sound of house music generally, and particularly the sound of most all subsequent "gay" house singles.

From 1989 to 1995, Vasquez gained national prominence, along with music industry influence — through his residency at the original Sound Factory, a club he co-founded with Richard Grant, which was located at 530 West 27th Street in Manhattan's Chelsea district. Vasquez quickly built a following of loyal fans who became known as "Juniorites". Devoted to Vasquez's musical style, personality, and the spectacle of his weekly Sunday morning after-hours parties, his fans made Vasquez one of New York City's most popular DJs. Soon afterward, major record labels began soliciting Vasquez to produce club-friendly remixes for their top singers utilizing his personal beat-driven house style. Due to a rise in demand from these labels, many singers and musicians such as C+C Music Factory, David Morales, Björk, Marilyn Manson, and Madonna were known to frequent his Sunday morning events. Working with many popular artists allowed Vasquez to create his own repertoire of exclusive "Private Collection" of authorized remixes (along with several unofficial remixes) which were not released to the market and thus made his live sets even more distinctive to his following due to the fact that they could only be heard at Vasquez's Sound Factory events.


Junior Vasquez was also closely associated at this time with The House of Xtravaganza, a gay ballroom "house" which enjoyed great prominence in New York City at this time. In the early 1990s, Vasquez released his single "X," which sampled Danny Xtravaganza saying the word "extravaganza!" (the voice sample was taken from Danny Xtravaganza's 1990 single on NuGroove records, "Love The Life You Live"). The track became a house music phenomenon, and was followed up soon thereafter with the equally as influential and successful "Get Your Hands Off My Man." More than any other two tracks, "X" and "Get Your Hands Off My Man" brought Junior's "factory sound" to even greater prominence in the house music scene.

After the Sound Factory was closed in February 1995, Vasquez held residencies at the Tunnel (1995–1996), and at ArenA (held at the Palladium) (1996–1997) where his suspended booth was custom-designed by designers Dolce & Gabbana. In 1997, he returned to the former site of the original Sound Factory, now called "Twilo". Remodeled to include a custom-designed DJ booth for Vasquez's exclusive use and fitted with new cutting-edge audio technology known as "Phazon", Vasquez's resid ency at Twilo lasted until May 2001 when the venue was abruptly shut down by order of the city. In 1997 Ian Jenkinson and Inner Rhythm Artists Tribal Gathering enlisted Vasquez for the Largest single artist DJ event in UK history at the London Arena. Problems with the venue saw the event split between the two largest clubs in the country, Ministry of Sound and Cream.

With the demise of Twilo, Vasquez began a new Sunday morning after-hours residency which he named "Earth" at the highest capacity club space in New York City, Exit Nightclub. Vasquez's gig at Earth ended without fanfare in 2002. In the years that followed, he held shorter-lived residencies at various clubs in New York, including Discothèque, Sound Factory (so-named by Richard Grant who retained legal rights to the name and opened in a new space located in the Hells Kitchen section of Manhattan shortly after the closure of the original site), Pacha (which opened in the site where the new Sound Factory once stood), Spirit (which opened at the former space where Twilo once operated), and The Roxy.


Timmy Regisford

Timmy Regisford is simply put, one of the great legends of dance music. The inception of his internationally acclaimed Club Shelter parties in NYC since 1991 helped pioneer the soulful house music sound that has shaped the face of house music today.

Trinidad-born, Timmy Regisford is known for his brand of soulful dance music. He started in 1985 at WBLS radio station in New York City, where he worked as Assistant Music Director, later being promoted to head Music Director of the station.

In 1988, he became A&R Director of Atlantic Records, signing such acts as Miki Howard and Levert. His next career step embarked on working for MCA Records as their A&R Director, where he developed artists Loose Ends and Colonel Abrams. He would soon go on to sign acts Guy and Eric B & Rakim.

Regisford later became Vice President of A&R at Motown Records, signubg acts Milira, Blaze, Basic Black, Today, and Johnny Gill. Along with his A&R work for these labels he is credited in many remix projects with Patti LaBelle, Steel Pulse, New Edition, Bobby Womack, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Boys, Diana Ross, Gerald Alston and Stevie Wonder.


In 1996, Regisford became Vice President of A& amp;R at Dreamworks Records. Timmy Regisford was also one of the founding people behind the legendary Club Shelter parties in New York City. The inception of his internationally acclaimed club parties 19 years ago helped pioneer the soulful house music sound that has shaped the face of house music all around the world.

Timmy’s much sought after productions and remixes are a plenty, gracing associated Shelter record labels 157 Shelter Records, Restricted Access, Un-Restricted Access, through to international labels such as West End, King Street, Apt, Pony Canyon and more. He has also released many mix albums including ‘NYC True ‘Classics,’ and The Legacy Of Shelter among others.

In recent times Timmy launched a new after hours club night in NY called Areacode where he is resident DJ. Timmy Regisford is as much of a miracle as he is a marathon man. Born in Trinidad and raised in New York City, Regisford stems directly from Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage school of dance and house music with an emphasis on songs and tracks to lead you there. Being a DJ himself and working for WBLS and being schooled by celebrated radio jock Frankie Crocker, Timmy Regisford learned the ropes of the music business in one of its hit centres. Together with partner Boyd Jarvis he recorded radio shows that are now the stuff of legend, created projects like Visual and Circuit, remixed Shannon, Colonel Abrams and Blaze as well as winning laurels as one of NYC’s most consistent and popular disc jockeys. Next to his day job as head of A&R for labels like Atlantic, MCA, Motown, and Dreamworks, he spent his nights at the helm of Manhattan’s Club Shelter – playing twelve hours and programming his impeccable sets with a broad range of music.


Judy Wenstein, Frankie, David & DEFMIX

When I listened to the edit of 2 PR's, a Blackman and A Dominican "Do It Properly" I knew Morales was onto something bigger than running my Record Pool (For The Record). So I fired him, hired a new Pool Director and entered the management game. After a short period of time, we agreed that with my nose for business and his growing mixing/editing skills... enough said; "Def Mix Productions" was born. It was 1987.

Soon after, Frankie Knuckles returned to New York after spending considerable time in Chicago establishing what would become the "House Music" sound. I introduced him to David... Frankie discovered Satoshi Tomiie in Japan... Hector Romero, a young D J from the Bronx opened for David at the Red Zone , Bobby D'Ambrosio, Lord G and others contributed their names and skills to what was to become the "Def Mix Sound".

Most of the innovations and the way we would conduct business were never planned. In my short remixing career with Larry Levan, I learned that I had absolutely no talent for creating music, but I sure knew a good vocal level when I heard it. By teaming the boys up with top of the line engineers John Poppo, David Sussman and Hugo Dwyer and musicians Peter Schwartz, Terry Burrus, Eric Kupper, Paul Shapiro, Peter Daou, Kelton Cooper, Bashiri Johnson, Steve Thornton and vocal maestro Danny Madden, not only would the hits follow but the guys would get a great education.


I fell comfortably into the role of executive producer and manager. I recognized that the "Remix" was no longer just an extended version of the "Original", but a reproduction worthy of its own credit and compensation. For the first time a DJ/Remixer w as afforded “Remix Produced By" as a credit, which then begat a "Producer Royalty"... which in some cases commanded a "Publishing Share"... which then produced a Grammy each for Knuckles and Morales.

As the business has reinvented itself where anyone can create a track in his/her bedroom, quality still abounds. Satoshi, an accomplished musician has incorporated the Def Mix sound that he co-created into a successful indy label... "Saw Recordings". Satoshi along with Hector (who I consider our cross-over DJ, because no style of "House" gets by him!), nudged Def Mix into the 21st century.

As I reflect back and contemplate the future, what I am most proud of is our longevity, loyalty and love for each other. Def Mix is more than a brand or style. Def Mix is my home.

Live long and prosper.



Body&SOUL was founded in 1996 by François K. and John Davis. The Sunday afternoon party, which took place at Club Vinyl in New York's Tribeca area, soon became one of New York's most revered weekly parties. The three DJs, Danny Krivit, Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell and François K. delivered a unique soulful mix of very organic and spiritual dance music grooves, and became standard-bearers for New York house. On any given Sunday at Body&SOUL, people from all walks of life, all ages, all races, raised their hands in the air and gave thanks for the unifying force that brought them back week after week: the music.

Danny Krivit's DJ career began at the Loft in NY, a mecca for DJs starting in the 70?s. There, he began a long term collaboration with Larry Levan and François K. DJing for over 40 years. Danny has an impressive knowledge in rare disco, funk, soul and jazz and known as the "King of the Re-edit", a technique that he pioneered in the early 80?s. He has produced, edited & mixed well over 400 records, along with holding down his NYC award-winning 718 Sessions event, now in its 10th year.

Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell is one of New York's highly respected dance figures, for his work as a DJ, producer, and remixer, as well as for his label Spiritual Life Music, all of which reflect his deep love for and his eclectic and multicultural taste in dance music. Much of the global dance movement can be traced back to Claussell's highly percussive style that incorporates Latin, African, Brazilian and other world rhythms with elements of jazz, rock, disco, and live instrumentation.


François K.'s career in dance and electronic music goes back to the late 70's in the New York clubs and at the disco label Prelude. He mixed loads of records on the European electro/new wave scene in the 80's and started his Wave Music label in the 90's. He has worked his mixing magic on about 1000 records to date and as a DJ and a producer is now exploring the dub and techno sides of electronic music.

The Body&SOUL sound led to the release of a successful compilation series by the same name, and the party has experienced some amazing performances, among which Jocelyn Brown, Incognito, Eddie Palmieri, D-train, Kenny Bobien, Julie Mc Knight, Byron Stingily, Lee John of Imagination to name a few.

In 2002, after gathering 1000 followers every week for six years, the weekly celebrations came to an end and in 2004, just before club Vinyl's building was sold to become an apartment complex, and the club space possibly a coffee shop (a legendary space that used to be club Shelter in prior years), the party came together one last time in its original home. Now, the Body&SOUL experience has extended to different territories with three memorable yearly events at NYC's Summerstage in Central Park where 10,000 people were moving in one heartbeat, with the 10th Year Anniversary parties at PS1 and Pacha, then Studio Mezmor, and in since 2009 about 4 events per year at Webster Hall in NYC, yearly events in Tokyo since 2002, events in Italy (Angels of Love), the Rock in Rio festival in Lisbon, Madrid and Rio, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Madrid, Singapore, Lyon, Cannes, Paris, Croatia, Toronto.


Danny Teneglia

Danny Teneglia was born in Brooklyn, New York, where he stayed until his move in 1985 to Miami Florida. Danny’s first gigs in New York include the Roller Palace, on of the first roller discos in Brooklyn, Stix and Crisco Disco. In Florida, Danny was a resident DJ at Cheers.

The tale of Danny Tenaglia's love affair with music, and the world's subsequent romance with him, is one of the critical veins in the body of dance music. He is every dancer's secret discovery; a random purchase at the record store, a reluctant night out that unexpectedly turned magic. Explosive success came not behind a major label release, or a world tour, or a radio hit remix: It happened when enough people had the private Tenaglia experience for themselves.

The momentum started building in early '70s New York, when a barely 10-year-old Danny first got the feel of vinyl in his hands. Enthralled by the music of artists like Philly Soul's The Trammps, Motown's Marvin Gaye, African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, and disco producer Giorgio Moroder, he started to collect records, plumbing the depths of each one, and frequently finding that he preferred the B-side to the A. It was 1979 when he discovered legendary nightclub Paradise Garage, where DJ Larry Levan's rich, genre-less blend of music seemed to mirror his own "no boundaries" policy. It was here where Danny found the club model he would one day emulate: Levan's bold style, the venue's plain décor, and the party's warmth and inclusiveness.



Danny left New York in 1985 and launched a successful DJ-ing career in Miami as a resident at Cheers nightclub. There he schooled the locals in classic New York and Chicago house, but five years later he returned h ome, tired of only playing other people's music. He started to assemble an impressive roster of remixes, including Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" (1991), Jamiroquai's "Emergency on Planet Earth" (1993), and Madonna's "Human Nature" (1994). But his first epic was The Daou's "Surrender Yourself" (1993): With the kick in the bass and the underlying rhythm as the foundation, Tenaglia blanketed Vanessa Daou's wispy vocal with grand, thick chords, a combination of classic groove and modern club-ready depth that was, at the time, entirely new. The title of his 1995 debut artist album on New York's Tribal Records described it perfectly: Hard & Soul. But even if the cocktail was his own, Tenaglia never hesitated to declare how heavily his influences weighed in his productions - everyone from Patti LaBelle to Kraftwerk, with countless lesser-known Soul, R&B, Latin, Samba, and Disco artists in between.


In 1996, after a brief stint at New York superclub Roxy, Danny landed a Sat urday night residency at white-hot Twilo, a position that upped his profile but didn't satisfy his expanding artistry as a DJ and producer. While New York swooned for big-room diva anthems, Danny was turning his ear toward the more minimal, tech-y grooves originating in European production studios. This period produced solid remixes like Grace's "Not Over Yet" (1996) and Janet Jackson's "The Pleasure Principle" (1996), but by the time he moved to Tunnel in 1998, Danny had already created "Elements," an instant classic that caused the dance scene's collective jaw to drop. With his own warped voice providing the narration, "Elements" (one track off full-length Tourism) walked the listener through the different components of a dance track in real time, going from kick to drum loop to snare hit, letting each layer over the other until the track exploded with dark, drum-heavy energy. Next to ostentatious radio anthems, its simplicity was a revelation.

It was around this time that the murmurs started to get louder: Who is this Danny Tenaglia, and just what does he do to people? Clubbers reported seemingly inhuman mixing capabilities, booth-to-floor telepathy, and the grittiest "modern yet classic" grooves they had ever heard come out of a speaker. A trio of label compilations - Mix This Pussy (1994) and Can Your Pussy Do The Dog? (1995) for Tribal, and Gag Me With A Tune (1996) for Maxi - were the first Tenaglia sets clued-in clubbers could take home to dissect, but the release of his first installment in the UK-based Global Underground series of DJ mixes, titled Athens (2000), lit the international fire. Athens (meant to reflect the set he played at the Greek capital's club King Size) remains one of the darkest, strangest, sexiest sets ever released, and its tame cover photo of a gentle-looking man in a Yankee cap just didn't seem to fit. DJ dates across Europe dispelled the mystery and started the spread of the infectious Tenaglia fever.


Back in New York, Tenaglia was tiring of the cavernous gloom of Tunnel and longed for a weekly home that better resembled where the DJ bug first bit him - the Paradise Garage. He landed at Vinyl, a black-walled, single-environment, no-liquor club about one-quarter the size of Tunnel. He named the night "Be Yourself," after the self-affirming, heavy-bottomed vocal track he had recently recorded with Chicago's Celeda. And he took the name to heart: Without the pressure of bar minimums or an expectant crowd, Tenaglia spread his DJ wings. Next to new tracks by young producers like Rui Da Silva, Peace Division, and Saeed & Palash, he played the artists of his youth, with nary a beat dropped. If he wanted to launch into a two-hour set of straight-up techno, he did. If he wanted to play old Michael Jackson records, he did. If he wanted to get on the mic and tell the crowd the name of the sound he was about to play, or who next week's guest opening DJ would be, or just give everyone a "verbal hand shake" to welcome them to the club, he did. And a city tired of drama embraced the barebones, music-centered night.

The world caught up to Tenaglia in 2000. His annual party during Miami's Winter Music Conference outgrew its home at the cramped Groovejet and moved to just-opened superclub Space. DJ giants like Carl Cox danced on top of the speakers with the Deep Dish boys, Fatboy Slim mingled on the patio, and for a day the ego inherent to DJ culture evaporated: Tenaglia was hailed as the undisputed king, the "DJ's DJ." His roof-raising revamp of Green Velvet's "Flash" won "Best Remix" at the UK's Muzik Awards, where he was also awarded the "Best International DJ" prize.

In the two years that followed, Tenaglia released another Global Underground installment (London); toured the world, took the party island of Ibiza by storm, remixed Billy Nichols' "Give Your Body Up To The Music" (a Garage anthem); got nominated for a Grammy (for his remix of Depeche Mode's "I Feel Loved," also nominated for Best Dance Song); returned to Twilo for two special gigs - a President's Day marathon with Carl Cox that shattered all its attendance records, and the club's sixth anniversary party with John Digweed, which turned out to be even more meaningful than it seemed at the time (Twilo was shut down permanently a week later); graced the cover of every major dance music magazine; and won a Dancestar Lifetime Achievement award... all while keeping Be Yourself buzzing every Friday.

In 2003, Danny came full circle with the release of Choice: A Collection Of Classics, a two-CD mixed compilation that let him pay direct tribute to many of the artists who had influenced his sound and style. It featured everyone from Blaze to Adeva to Imagination, as well as hefty liner notes explaining the significance of each track, penned by the man himself. He also remixed another Garage classic (Yoko Ono's "Walking On Thin Ice," which became her first Billboard number one ever ), opened another Space during Winter Music Conference (the new location down the block), and took another Dancestar award, this time "Best Party" for Be Yourself.

Be Yourself took the same honor again in 2004, but this time the win was bittersweet. At the time of the ceremony, Vinyl, now called Arc, had already been sold to developers. Danny closed the classic club on Sunday, April 25, 2004, with an emotional set that lasted well into Monday afternoon, and culminated with his mix of Kings Of Tomorrow's paean to unending love, "Finally."

And as in every year since his DJ odyssey began, all across the globe, from Acapulco to Tokyo, more people experienced their first night with Danny Tenaglia, that clubber rite-of-passage that forever changes how you listen to music, go out to nightclubs, and think about DJs.

New Jersey Garage

It was formed by Josh Milan, Kevin Hedge, and Chris Herbert, when Herbert introduced Milan, a member of his church choir, to Hedge, his childhood friend. Ironically, Herbert was the one who left the group in 1991, leaving Milan and Hedge to keep working together.[1] The group's output consists mainly of house-music tracks with heavy gospel, soul and afrobeat influences (sometimes referred to as gospel house). When the group started, Herbert was the singer, with Milan playing the piano, and Hedge on production. After Herbert left, both Hedge and Milan started to share production duties, vocals, and playing most of the instruments of the group's tracks and albums. The group achieved notoriety with its remix of Lisa Stansfield's "People Hold On" in 1989, after signing with Motown/MCA Records.


Blaze released its debut album, 25 Years Later, in 1990, after which Herbert decided to move to a more R&B-oriented career, while the two remaining members invested in the emerging club culture, opening a nightclub called Shelter. In 1994, the group scored its first big international production success with De'Lacy's "Hideaway," which was later remixed by Deep Dish. Since then, Blaze released three more albums, alongside a few scattered compilations of earlier productions and works and countless singles. The group also began working with other well-known names such as "Little" Louie Vega, Barbara Tucker, Jody Watley, and Full Intention. It is best known to modern audiences by its singles featuring Palmer Brown on vocals, the oft-remixed "My Beat," and the tribute anthem "I Remember House." Blaze's most recent album, released in 2005, is a mix compilation title called Found Love.

When thinking about Tony Humphries, you might be minded of his epic stint at KISS FM as one of its greatest Mastermixers; or of his residency at one of the greatest US clubs, The Zanzibar; or, even, the walls that are lined with gold discs, from Indeep to Janet Jackson; or even his legendary eclecticism. Tony is all of those things and more. But then, there’s the Tony of today, restless, questing, searching for new challenges. Which is pretty much how Tony has always been.

When thinking about Tony Humphries, you might be minded of his epic stint at KISS FM as one of its greatest Mastermixers; or of his residency at one of the greatest US clubs, The Zanzibar; or, even, the walls that are lined with gold discs, from Indeep to Janet Jackson; or even his legendary eclecticism. Tony is all of those things and more. But then, there’s the Tony of today, restless, questing, searching for new challenges. Which is pretty much how Tony has always been.


Few people realise just how deeply steeped in performing Tony Humphries’ family is. His father, Rene Grand, an émigré from Colombia in the 1950s, was a prominent bandleader in New York, alongside peers like Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri. Plus he has a raft of cousins, uncles and aunts who have forged a career in the performing arts. Tony was born to it.

Tony Humphries has been DJing nearly 35 years, an incredible achievement that in any other industry would have been rewarded with a carriage clo ck or service medal. His big break came through a chance meeting with Mastermixer Shep Pettibone at the offices of Prelude Records. Tony handed the maestro a tape and the rest is history. Humphries’ star rose as his KISS FM show (and later HOT 97) lasted for decades.

Although Humphries was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, he has long been associated with New Jersey and the reason for that is his long-held residency at Club Zanzibar in Newark that began in 1982. Zanzibar became synonymous with a new soulful electronic sound, labelled the Jersey sound, but with Tony’s hands at the tiller it was a vastly more varied menu than that suggests. “It wasn’t like going to a house club, everything was intertwined,” explains Tony. “The hours were long, so obviously you didn’t want to hear ten hours of straight house music. If you’re going to pay $15-20 to hear this guy, you want to hear the whole damn spectrum. You had to come with everything possible. Talking Heads and The B-52s don’t s ound like Zanzibar/Garage records, but they were. I think that’s what the Zanzibar’s appeal was.”

Although Tony is often seen more as a DJ than a remixer, his forays into the studio have always been productive. His remix of Mtume’s ‘Juicy Fruit’ has been sampled on several big hip hop and R&B hits and Fresh Band’s ‘Come Back Lover’ is rightly regarded as one of the best disco songs of the 1980s. He has gone on to remix scores of artists from Soul II Soul to Janet Jackson (which earned him a gold disc). Poignantly, Tony was enticed back into the studio in 2013 by Frankie Knuckles who asked Tony to do a swap mix for a track he’d been working on. As Frankie told Tony, “You’re a great remixer. I just thought folks needed to be reminded.”

His reputation in Europe, established via illegally copied tapes of his KISS shows, grew hugely after successful jaunts to influential parties like Danny Rampling’s Shoom & Norman Jay’s High On Hope in London. He was coaxed back to Europe in the early ’90s for residencies at both Ministry of Sound in London and Echoes in Rimini on the Italian Riviera.


Tony’s first label venture Yellorange was launched in 1998 and ran the gamut of styles, from the soulful vocals of Mel’isa Morgan, Miguel Plansencia’s Afro-Cuban flavors, through to Soweto Funk’s Italo-grooves. His latest venture, Tony Records is, “showcasing younger artists and producers doing soulful music in a modern form.” Check Tony’s own recent release Housework EP, which fuses blues, gospel and worksongs into a brilliantly contemporary setting (or even his new mix compilation with DJ Spen, Quintessentials, demonstrating his expansive style).

In 2009, Body & Soul promoter John Davis brought Tony together with ‘Little’ Louie Vega and David Morales for a ten-hour session at New York’s Webster Hall that was appropriately dubbed the Kings of House. Little did any of them anticipate the success that this would be, turning into a worldwide phen omenon that has straddled continents and cities, as well as regular trips to the likes of Pacha Ibiza.

What strikes anyone when meeting Tony Humphries is not what he’s done or where he’s been, but where he’s going. ““Growing up in Boston, our biggest influence was the New York house scene and no one embodies this spirit more than Tony Humphries,” explains Soul Clap’s Eli Goldstein. “For us, the gospel, deep, tribal sound he created at his Zanzibar residency reached us through the many remixes and tracks named after the legendary club. We finally had the honor of opening for Tony this year and we were blown away by his ability to represent the old, while pushing a unique, modern house sound. There is clearly only one Tony Humphries!” Amen to that.

Masters At Work

The two native New Yorkers have amassed an overwhelming body of work in that time, one that includes hundreds of original productions, remixes and side projects, redefining the way we think of music in clubs. Vega and Gonzalez defiantly mix everything they can find – house, hip-hop, funk, disco, Latin, African and jazz – into a universal groove.

Their name says it all – Masters At Work. For over a decade, "Little Louie" Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez have shepherded dance music down new paths with their inventive production style and imaginative feel for different musical forms. The two native New Yorkers have amassed an overwhelming body of work in that time, one that includes hundreds of original productions, r emixes and side projects, redefining the way we think of music in clubs. Vega and Gonzalez defiantly mix everything they can find – house, hip-hop, funk, disco, Latin, African and jazz – into a universal groove. And in doing so, MAW has become a cultural mélange unto itself, emblematic of the multicultural society in which we live.

Masters At Work won the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award at the US Dancestar Awards at the Miami Winter Music Conference 2002.

Our Time Is Coming is the group's third official album, second under the MAW moniker. Comprised of wonderful new compositions and a handful of their most popular singles from recent years, it is indicative of the ambitiously eclectic MAW sound: a vibrant dance groove culled from a mesh of Latin rhythms, jazz and soul. Vega and Gonzalez composed, produced and arranged the album's 15 songs, using crafty studio work and live instrumentation and help from some regular collaborators (India, Roy Ayers) and a few special g uests (Patti Austin, James Ingram, Stephanie Mills).

Our Time Is Coming combines new compositions with popular MAW singles from recent years, all co-written, produced, arranged and mixed by Vega and Gonzalez, who recruited a number of friends and influences to add to the sessions.

The title track boasts the inimitable influence of Roy Ayers on vibes and background vocals. "Like A Butterfly (You Send Me)," the opening selection, features the lovely Patti Austin on vocals with lyrics co-written by Blaze and background vocals arranged by Austin. The legendary James Ingram appears on "Lean On Me." Elsewhere on Our Time Is Coming, the diversity of Vega and Gonzalez rears its head with the Latin-jazz-influenced "Pienso En Ti," featuring guitarist and vocalist Luis Salinas, and the deep-house funk of Billie’s "Every Now And Then." And it's nearly impossible to throw on the Soca-influenced "Work," (featuring Puppah Nas-T with vocals by Denise) and casually bob your head – th is is a full-body experience.

It was a dream of Vega and Gonzalez’s to record with Afrobeat king Fela Kuti. Unfortunately, their hopes were dashed when Fela passed away in August 1997. So instead, "MAW Expensive (A Tribute To Fela)" reworks Fela’s signature "Expensive Shit," maintaining its dedicated tribal flavor. Our Time Is Coming is Masters At Work at their finest, a wonderful accomplishment especially given the scope of Masters At Work's robust discography. It's rare to see artists push their creative impulses so consistently and with such acceptance, and even more rare to see it sustained for so long. But as this album reveals, Vega and Gonzalez continue to do so with unequaled ability. If anything, the album's title is too appropriate, for as much as the artists have done in the last eleven years, there is certainly more that lies ahead.

The History:

"Little Louie" Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez officially started their union as Masters At W ork in 1990. Vega, a prodigious DJ around New York, met Gonzalez, a producer, through burgeoning house DJ Todd Terry. Gonzalez’s song "Salsa House" was a favorite of Vega, who fell for its Latin-influenced, everything-goes flavor. Desiring to remix the song, Vega asked Terry for an introduction, and almost instantly the two bonded over their insatiable appetite for music of all kinds.

Vega was born in the Bronx in 1965 and raised in an environment rich with Latin music. His father was an accomplished saxophone player and his uncle was renowned salsa singer Hector Lavoe (of Fania All Stars fame). While Vega embraced the music of his Puerto Rican heritage, it was his pair of club-hopping sisters – regulars at David Mancuso's famous late-'70s Loft parties and at Paradise Garage – who introduced him to the vitality of dance music. Already taken with roller-disco and hip-hop, Vega attended Paradise Garage for the first time in 1980. There he witnessed the magic of DJ Larry Levan, whose ability to blend music from seemingly every genre and era into a seamless groove would foreshadow the spirit of Masters At Work. Through the mid-'80s, Vega began to make a name for himself as an up-and-coming DJ, playing house and freestyle in Bronx and Manhattan hotspots like Devil's Nest, Roseland and Studio 54. He was also doing remixes and original rhythm tracks, including one of his early breaks remixing Information Society's "Running" for Tommy Boy.

Gonzalez was born in Brooklyn in 1970. As a kid, he initially shunned Latin music, falling in love with the rebellious party beats of hip-hop. He worked as a buyer in a local record store while a teenager, mastering his skills as a DJ playing on the side. In the late-'80s, Gonzalez and a friend began organizing popular neighborhood block parties under the guise Masters At Work. Gonzalez met Todd Terry through these parties and lent Terry the fresh MAW moniker for two eventual club hits – "Alright, Alright" and "Dum D um Cry." In return, Terry let Gonzalez borrow his drum machine and recording equipment, on which the blossoming producer recorded several tracks for the influential Nu Groove Records, including "Salsa House."


Nuyorican Soul

MAW alter-ego Nuyorican Soul was born in 1993, a play on their heritage (Puerto Rican), residence (New York City) and style of music (soul). They debuted the guise on "The Nervous Track" (Nervous Records), giving us a glimpse of the Nuyorican concept – a groove that wasn't just thumping beats but musically sophisticated and engaging as well. A subsequent track, the hot club hit "You Can Do It (Baby)!" featuring George Benson, helped the project gain critical mass with fans, and after being signed by influential music maestro Gilles Peterson, Vega and Gonzalez recorded the first Nuyorican Soul album. *

Released in 1997, the self-titled album was a mix of exemplary salsa, jazz and soul musicians (Roy Ayers, Eddie Palmieri, Jocelyn Brown). There was a discernable Latin jazz influence on songs like "Runaway" (a Salsoul Orchestra cover), a classic soul feel on the Rotary Connection gem "I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun," and a nod to hip-hop with a cover of Bob James' oft-sampled classic "Nautilus (Mawtilus)". Yet while the album's cover songs gave a nod to their influences, nobody could have imagined the timelessness of the Nuyorican sound.


The MAW Union

The first collaboration between Vega and Gonzalez came in 1990 when Vega produced the debut album for singer Marc Anthony, an underground club prodigy at the time. Writing with India and other collaborators, and arranging the album himself, Vega brought in Latin masters Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri to record the album, and turned to Gonzalez for some beats. Credited as "Masters At Work featuring Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri," the recording of the album set the conceptual framework for future MAW productions: combining live instruments with sampled beats, and veteran masters with new innovators. Soon others were seeking the MAW sound, and Vega and Gonzalez began remixing artists ranging from Debbie Gibson to Saint Etienne. They also began making their own original tracks, like "Blood Vibes," a hip-hop/reggae blend that marked their first original production, and "Our Mute Horn," a Miles Davis tribute track that gave a nod to their jazz influences.

As the Masters At Work sound became more pervasive in clubs, they became more sought after by artists and labels, eventually remixing Bjork, Deee-Lite, Neneh Cherry, Soul II Soul, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, Daft Punk, Incognito, Brand New Heavies, Stephanie Mills and many, many more. Sometimes a MAW remix is literally a re-mixing of the original, like adding a bass line and some minimal keys (Daft Punk's "Around the World") Other times, their remixes are total re-imaginations of the songs, as was the case with Saint Etienne's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart".

MAW also began producing for their own coterie of artists, like Barbara Tucker and salsa singer India, as well as for artists like Luther Vandross, BeBe Winans and George Benson. These were artists who had n o foothold in the dance world but, based on their collaborations with MAW, were given instant respect. In addition to their own solo departures – e.g., Gonzalez’s hip-hop influenced guise The Bucketheads and Vega's DJ residencies at Sound Factory Bar – the group collected some of their own original tracks and released The Album in 1993. Alternating between hard, head-nodding hip-hop and more inspired house tracks, it was their first album released under the Masters At Work name.