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Louie Vega

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“Little” Louie Vega.

Louie Vega is the Miles Davis of dance music. Like the impossible to categorize Davis, Vega is constantly reinventing himself; and revolutionizing the musical landscape in the process. During his nearly two-decade long career, Vega has crafted some of the most ground-breaking singles in dance music history (“The Nervous Track”, “It’s Alright, I Feel It” and “You Can Do It”), kick started genres like soulful house (“Beautiful People,” “I Get Lifted”), and revitalized the careers of legends like Roy Ayers, George Benson and Tito Puente.

Born in the Bronx in 1965, Vega grew up in an environment rich with Latin music. His father, Louie Vega Sr, is an accomplished jazz and Latin saxophonist and his uncle was renowned salsa singer Hector Lavoe (of Fania All Stars fame). Vega’s musical influences didn’t end with Latin music though: in the eighties, he was a regular at legendary nightclubs like The Paradise Garage and attended Afrika Bambaataa’s famous Bronx River Projects block parties.

In the mid-eighties, Vega began to make a name for himself as an up-and-coming DJ, playing at Bronx and Manhattan hotspots like Devil’s Nest, Roseland, Studio 54 and the Palladium. He played with a raw energy and enthusiasm that reflected his passion for the music, and his sets were refreshingly diverse, encompassing everything from Latin-Jazz and hip-hop to British new wave. Towards the end of the decade though, Vega became disenchanted with the club scene’s increasing musical segregation. He felt that “People’s minds were starting to think in terms of categories.”

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