A who's-who of disco players are gathered for an ambitious two-disc set of remixes, edits, originals and remastered classics.
Many of the older tracks—presumably the ones that Vega already considered disco perfection—are remastered for the modern dance floor but otherwise untouched. (A song like Steve Shelto's "Don't Give Your Love Away," originally mixed by Shep Pettibone, is a great entry point.) Vega has lightly edited some other cuts, but you'd need to know the songs inside-out to notice most of the changes. John Davis & The Monster Orchestra's "Love Magic" is still defined by its lush, orchestral sound. Glen Adams Affair's "Just A Groove" still owes something to Diana Ross's "Upside Down." The best of these might be Greg Henderson's "Dreamin'"—its swooning vocal arrangement gives the song a placid, lighter-than-air aura that's hugely appealing.
The remixes here are hit and miss. On Vicky D's "This Beat Is Mine," Vega swaps the original's rollerskate bounce for a more linear rhythm and faster tempo, which, paradoxically, makes it less energetic. He applies the same technique to "Keep On Dancin'" from Gary's Gang. The strategy is more effective here, perhaps because the song had a more housed-up vibe to begin with. On Sylvester's "Dance (Disco Heat)," Vega brings the song's guitar riff to the forefront, while emphasizing its gospel core via a newly added, rapturous turn from the background vocalist Cindy Mizelle and a raucous organ solo by the frequent Vega collaborator Axel Tosca.
A chunk of NYC Disco is given over to Vega's new music. He's gone all in on these tracks, enlisting an all-star lineup that includes Blaze's Josh Milan, and the vocalists Rochelle Fleming and Barbara Tucker. ("Bringing the queen of disco soul together with the queen of house was a task I've always wanted to accomplish," Vega recently said.) Not all of the originals work. "Rebel Nation"'s pseudo-futuristic vibe is a bit forced, even with disco guru Patrick Adams coproducing. A near note-for-note cover version of Indeep's "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" is faithful to the point of being redundant.
There are, though, a handful of gems, like the aptly named "Cosmic Disco," a dreamy and luxurious instrumental jam credited to Dub Disco Band. "Get Myself Together" is a playful, buttery disco-soul cut featuring lead vocals from the late Luther Vandross, culled from a 1979 session while working on his album Never Too Much. The stomping "He Promised Me" boasts the testifying belting of the gospel luminary BeBe Winans and a full-throated choir, who are more than powerful enough to cut through the tune's banging piano and revved-up bassline.
Winans, along with the aforementioned artists and the LP's other guests—the songwriter, producer and vocalist Fonzi Thornton, the Atlantic Starr cofounder Sharon Bryant, the turntablist Jazzy Jeff and many others—are royalty. It's a testament to Vega's drawing power, not to mention his Rolodex, that he managed to gather them together for NYC Disco. The range of live musicians and engineers enlisted across much of the LP is similarly impressive. The classic tracks may be the draw here, but fans of soulful dance music will find much to love in Vega's newer material as well.
Fri / 6 Jul 2018
01. Louie Vega, Patrick Adams & Cloud Two - Rebel Nation feat. Anané
02. BeBe Winans - He Promised Me feat. Tobbi, Tommi & Kiandra Richardson (Louie Vega Remix)
03. Louie Vega - Love Having You Around feat. Rochelle Fleming & Barbara Tucker
04. Luther Vandross - Get Myself Together (Louie Vega Remix)
05. Louie Vega - Dancing For Your Love feat. Cindy Mizelle & Sharon Bryant
06. John Davis & The Monster Orchestra - I Can't Stop feat. DJ Jazzy Jeff (Louie Vega Remix)
07. Louie Vega - Last Night A DJ Saved My Life feat. Anané & Tony Touch
08. Louie Vega - Love Paradox feat. The Martinez Brothers
09. John Davis & The Monster Orchestra - Bourgie Bourgie (Louie Vega Remix)
10. Sylvester - Dance (Disco Heat) (Louie Vega Re-Touch)
11. Louie Vega - Get With The Funk feat. Josh Milan
12. Dub Disco Band - Cosmic Disco
13. Vicky D - This Beat Is Mine (Louie Vega Remix)
14. Gary's Gang - Keep On Dancing (Louie Vega Remix)
15. Louie Vega - Love Fantasy feat. Cindy Mizelle
01. Greg Henderson - Dreamin' (Louie Vega Edit)
02. John Davis & The Monster Orchestra - Love Magic (Louie Vega Edit)
03. Komiko - Feel Alright (Louie Vega Edit)
04. Steve Shelto - Don't Give Your Love Away (Remastered)
05. Rhyze - Just How Sweet Your Love Is (Remastered)
06. Lucy Hawkins - Gotta Get Out Of Here (Remastered)
07. Mike & Brenda - Don't Let Go Of Me (Grip Your Hips) (Remastered)
08. Underground - Behind My Back (Remastered)
09. Klassique - Somebody's Loving You (Original Ray Reid 12-inch Club Mix) (Remastered)
10. Underground - Doin' It (Remastered)
11. Glen Adams Affair - Just A Groove (Louie Vega Edit)
12. Leroy Burgess & Convertion - Let's Do It (A Louie Vega Interpretation)