By every account, 2016 has been an awful year. Yet, this morning we woke up to the news that dance culture pioneer David Mancuso had passed. Much like Frankie Knuckles in 2014, it is a devestating blow. Here is a 7-hour set from Mancuso in his style:
You’ll notice how he doesn’t mix, just plays (beautiful) songs. He was a DJ before there were DJs. He was a cultural pioneer that provided a safe space before “safe spaces” even existed. He created The Loft in 1970. The party was called “Love Saves the Day“:
Clubs are set up for the purpose of making money. This is not what The Loft is about. The Loft is about putting on a party and making friends. That doesn’t mean you can’t put on a party and make friends in a club, but these places are structured to make a profit, and that’s a whole different head. Without a doubt, that has a bearing on how things happen and how far things can go.
For me The Loft is all about social progress.
Mancuso would then go on to start one of the very first “record pools,” the modern equivalent of a file-sharing system. Such members of the record pool? Tony Humphries, François Kevorkian, Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, and Nicky Siano … LEGENDS.
In the newly released book, Life And Death On The New York Dance Floor 1980-83 (which we have already ordered for our library, make no mistake), Mancuso gets a good chunk:
Mancuso’s party was the “complete opposite” of Studio 54, where dancers would buy expensive outfits in order to be somebody and narcissism reigned. “The Loft wasn’t about your dress and attire,” he explains. “It was about being communal.” Dancers wore functional T-shirts, military-style gas pants, and either Capezio jazz-dance shoes or five-dollar Chinese slippers.
David Mancuso was nothing more than a seminal figure in modern music, setting the table for disco, boogie, house, and, well, most of the music you love today. For a complete telling of Mancuso, visit discomusic.com.