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A history of garage music

Related: dance music - Larry Levan - speed garage - Paradise Garage

Do not confuse with: garage (rock)

Paradise Garage

Paradise Garage logo

The meaning of the word garage has slipped dramatically. But any definition will pretty quickly run into problems if you name a genre of music after a club [Larry Levan's Paradise Garage] which was known not for one style of music but for its wild eclecticism championed by one DJ.

"Garage" is one of the most mangled terms in dance music. The term derives from the Paradise Garage itself, but it has meant so many different things to so many different people that unless you're talking about a specific time and place, it is virtually meaningless. Part of the reason for this confusion (aside from various journalistic misunderstandings and industry misappropriations) is that the range of music played at the Garage was so broad. The music we now call "garage" has evolved from only a small part of the club's wildly eclectic soundtrack. -- Frank Broughton/Bill Brewster

Definition

Garage is any of several different varieties of modern electronic dance music generally connected to house or disco. Usage is different in the US and UK.

The term was first used in the US to describe records in the late 70s and early 80s that formed the eclectic playlist of the "Paradise Garage" nightclub in New York City. Over time, the term in the US came to mainly describe the more soulful, gospel-inspired styles of disco and house music first made popular by Tony Humphries at club Zanzibar in Newark, NJ. The evolution of house music in the UK in the late 1990s led to the term being applied to a new form of music also known as speed garage or UK Garage. This style is now frequently combined with other forms of music like hip hop, rap and R&B, all broadly filed under the description urban music. The correct pronunciation of UK Garage is "Garridge", rather than in the same way as the building (although the pronunciation "garridge" for the building is also common in the UK).

Artists like Dizzee Rascal (2003 winner of the Mercury Music Award) have made East London Garage mainstream in the UK. Garage is really a mixture between drums and bass with rap or hip hop. Garage progressively becomes more raw in East London with much more emphasis on electronic beats and rhythms. The new sound Dizzee bought to the new millenium is called "Grime."

"'Garage' is one of the most mangled terms in dance music. The term derives from the Paradise Garage itself, but it has meant so many different things to so many different people that unless you're talking about a specific time and place, it is virtually meaningless. Part of the reason for this confusion (aside from various journalistic misunderstandings and industry misappropriations) is that the range of music played at the Garage was so broad. The music we now call 'garage' has evolved from only a small part of the club's wildly eclectic soundtrack." -- Frank Broughton/Bill Brewster in Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garage_%28dance_music%29 [Apr 2005]

A US Perspective

What we now call garage is music which has evolved from the more soulful, more gospel-inspired parts of disco and it owes its emergence to the taste-making of DJ Tony Humphries at his club Zanzibar in Newark, New Jersey.

CDs

  • Larry Levan Live at the Paradise Garage [Amazon US] Track Listings: Disc 1 - 1. Bourgiť Bourgiť - Asford & Simpson - 2. It's Music - Harris, Damon - 3. At Midnight - T Connection - 4. Put Your Body in It - Mills, Stephanie - 5. Dreaming a Dream - Crown Heights Affair - 6. By the Way You Dance (I Never Knew It Was You) - Sigler, Bunny - 7. Right in the Socket - Shalamar - 8. Take Me Home - Cher - 9. Pick Me up, I'll Dance - Moore, Melba - 10. Get on the Funk Train - Munich Machine - 11. Here We Go Again - People's Choice - Disc: 2 - 1. Here We Go Again [Cont.] - People's Choice - 2. Bad Mouthin' - Motown Sounds - 3. Let Yourself Go - Supremes - 4. Angel in My Pocket - Change - 5. Smack Dab in the Middle - McClain, Janice - 6. Sun.. Sun... Sun... - Jakki - 7. Trinidad - Gibbs, John - 8. My First Mistake - Chi-Lites - 9. Erucu - Jackson, Jermaine
    Live set by Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage. Personal favourites include Sun Sun Sun, Trinidad, Right in the Socket, It's Music. Very informative 38 page booklet included with good liner notes.

    Books

  • Last Night a DJ saved My Life [Amazon US]
    From the first time a record was played over the airwaves in 1906, to a modern club economy that totals $3 billion annually in New York City alone, the DJ has been at the center of popular music. Starting as little more than a talking jukebox, the DJ is now a premier entertainer, producer, businessman, and musician in his own right. Superstar DJs, from Junior Vasquez to Sasha and Digweed, command worship and adoration from millions, flying around the globe to earn tens of thousands of dollars for one night's work. Increasingly, they are replacing live musicians as the central figures of the music industry. In Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, music journalists Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton have written the first comprehensive history of the mysterious and charismatic figure behind the turntables -- part obsessive record collector, part mad scientist, part intuitive psychologist of the party groove. From England's rabid Northern Soul scene to the birth of disco in New York, from the sound systems of Jamaica to the scratch wars of early hip-hop in the Bronx, from Chicago house to Detroit techno to London rave, DJs are responsible for most of the significant changes in music over the past forty years. Drawing on in-depth interviews with DJs, critics, musicians, record executives, and the revelers at some of the century's most legendary parties, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is nothing less than the life story of dance music. [this book has a 20 page chapter on the garage history]

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