Masters At Work Bio

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Masters at Work bio

"Little Louie" Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez officially started their union as Masters At Work in 1990. Vega, a prodigious DJ around New York, met Gonzalez, a producer, through burgeoning house DJ Todd Terry. Gonzalez’s song "Salsa House" was a favorite of Vega, who fell for its Latin-influenced, everything-goes flavor. Desiring to remix the song, Vega asked Terry for an introduction, and almost instantly the two bonded over their insatiable appetite for all kinds of music. Vega was born in the Bronx in 1965 and raised in an environment rich with Latin music. His father was an accomplished saxophone player and his uncle was renowned salsa singer Hector Lavoe (of Fania All Stars fame). While Vega embraced the music of his Puerto Rican heritage, it was his pair of club-hopping sisters—regulars at David Mancuso's famous late-'70s Loft parties and at Paradise Garage—who introduced him to the vitality of dance music. Already taken with roller-disco and hip-hop, Vega attended Paradise Garage for the first time in 1980. There he witnessed the magic of DJ Larry Levan, whose ability to blend music from seemingly every genre and era into a seamless groove would foreshadow the spirit of Masters At Work. Gonzalez was born in Brooklyn in 1970. As a kid, he initially shunned Latin music, falling in love with the rebellious party beats of hip-hop. He worked as a buyer in a local record store while a teenager, mastering his skills as a DJ playing on the side. In the late-'80s, Gonzalez and a friend began organizing popular neighborhood block parties under the guise Masters At Work. The first collaboration between Vega and Gonzalez came in 1990 when Vega produced the debut album for singer Marc Anthony, an underground club prodigy at the time. Writing with India and other collaborators, and arranging the album himself, Vega brought in Latin masters Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri to record the album, and turned to Gonzalez for some beats. Credited as "Masters At Work featuring Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri," the recording of the album set the conceptual framework for future MAW productions. As the Masters At Work sound became more pervasive in clubs, they became more sought after by artists and labels, eventually remixing Bjork, Deee-Lite, Neneh Cherry, Soul II Soul, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, Daft Punk, Incognito, Brand New Heavies, Stephanie Mills and many more. MAW also began producing for their own coterie of artists, like Barbara Tucker and salsa singer India, as well as for artists like Luther Vandross, BeBe Winans and George Benson. These were artists who had no foothold in the dance world but, based on their collaborations with MAW, were given instant respect. The duo's commercial profile may not be as high as some of their rival producer/DJs but they are widely regarded as the cream of their profession.

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