New discs from old jams to rare metal

May 11, 2006|By RASHOD D. OLLISON

On the playlist this week, we have slam-good releases that recently hit the streets: reissued underground jams from back in the day, Southern-soul blues by an overlooked master, ambitious heavy metal from a band that records every blue moon and a shimmering disc from one of the more sweetly refined vocalists on the grind today.

Various Artists, Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story: While living in New York four years ago, I met a few veteran club heads who'd go on and on about getting down at Paradise Garage, the storied private discotheque in SoHo. They said the DJ, a handsome cat named Larry Levan, was a master of the turntable, entrancing dancers for hours with polyrhythmic funk from deep in the crates, New Wave joints and gospel-laced R&B. Levan was a pioneer in the art of DJ-ing, remixing many of the cuts he spun, and his versions quickly became sought-after recordings throughout the city, even overseas. Fourteen years after heart disease ended his life at age 38, his mixes still rock the party, sounding as vibrant today as I'm sure they did back in the late '70s and early '80s when Levan was king of Paradise Garage. (The club closed in '87.)

rashod.ollison@baltsun.com

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