Danny Tenaglia

Danny Tenaglia

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.  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 home, tired of only playing other people’s music. He started to assemble an impressive roster of remixes. 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 Saturday night residency at white-hot Twilo. 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. 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.

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