I don't want to harp on this too much (this isn't the disco-jazz list), but
a few absolute truths exist when it comes to this type of music.
1)- Disco is - without a doubt - the direct parent to modern dance music. It
has its own roots in rhythm & blues and soul, but if you were to take disco
out of the equation then we would not have seen the early house tracks that
spread across the country and over seas; and then splintered into the
million or so genres that we know today. Disco producers were the first ones
to think about tracks in the way that modern dance producers do. A good
friend of mine is Ed Greene, who was Barry White's studio drummer, and also
played on numerous disco singles. He told me a story about when he recorded
the drums for "Last Dance" (Donna Summer) they made him record the parts ONE
DRUM AT A TIME(!). That way they could add or subtract different drums from
the song at will, without the bleed through from the mikes on the other
How different would rock be without the electric guitar? Would it even
2)- Disco was the soundtrack for the genesis of club life as we know it. The
seventies discotheque was the blueprint for virtually every dance club in
existence. It was really the first time that clubs were designed from the
ground up for the expressed purpose of shaking your booty.
3)- Disco DJs were the arctype for the modern superstar DJ. These early
masters of dance music held an almost God-like status at the places where
they worked. It was people like Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, and Francis
Grasso that first showed us that not everyone can do this, and do it well.
They are responsible for every facet of DJ life. The obsessive record
collecting, the attention to detail, the rock star lifestyle, and the modern
mixing techniques. Believe me, if you've never tried mixing disco - its
absolutely the hardest dance music to mix smoothly. Anyone who's ever tried
to mix in or out of "September" can tell you that.
Say what you want to about disco, but we all owe a debt of gratitude to this
much maligned era in pop life. Sure, there were a lot of shitty disco
records made, but there are a lot of shitty acid jazz records too. Don't let
generalizations and stereotypes stop you from exploring your roots.
- And I'm out...
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