From The New York Times:
David Mancuso, Whose New York Loft Was a Hub of ’70s Night Life, Dies at 72
By WILLIAM GRIMES, November 18, 2016
David Mancuso, a self-described “musical host” who revolutionized night life in New York with weekly dance parties he gave at his downtown loft, beginning in 1970, died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 72.
The New York City medical examiner’s office said it was investigating the cause.
Mr. Mancuso, called “the most influential figure in night life history” by the British music journalists Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton in their book “The Record Players: D.J. Revolutionaries” (2010), brought to his Saturday night gatherings the values of the 1960s counterculture, an audiophile’s fascination with sound technology and a voracious appetite for all styles of music.
The parties at the Loft, as Mr. Mancuso’s apartment came to be known, became a near-religious rite for the city’s underground.
From midnight until 6 a.m., Mr. Mancuso’s top-of-the-line sound system delivered an eclectic musical mix to an audience that one tenant in his building, talking to a New York Times reporter in 1974, called “some of the more bizarre segments of our society.”
A Mancuso party was a ’60s dream of peace, love and diversity: multiracial, gay and straight, young and old, well-to-do and down-at-heel, singles and couples, all mingling ecstatically in an egalitarian, commerce-free space.
“Don’t forget, you had the civil rights movement going on, you had gay liberation going on,” Mr. Mancuso told the website Red Bull Academy Daily in June. “You had all these movements going on. All this music that was coming from all different directions, it was all over the place. As long as you had a neutral place where people could come and just enjoy themselves, there was such incredibly good music.”
The parties provided the model for dozens of clubs to come, notably the Paradise Garage in Manhattan and the Warehouse in Chicago, and decisively influenced the culture and musical styles associated with them, from disco onward to the worlds of house, acid, techno and dubstep.
“D.J.’s started to gravitate to the Loft when they were finished with their own parties for the night, and it was there that some of the most influential D.J.’s of the future — Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries, François Kevorkian, David Morales and many more — would learn about the sonic and social potential of the party,” Tim Lawrence, the author of “Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79” (2003), wrote in an email.
David Paul Mancuso was born on Oct. 20, 1944, in Utica, N.Y. His mother, Catilana Mancuso, known as Kathleen, placed him in an asylum for children two days after he was born. She took him back in when he was 5. He was the product of a love affair his mother had had while her husband, Karl Hajdasz, was serving in the military.
Mr. Mancuso dropped out of high school and in 1962 moved to New York, where he worked a variety of jobs before renting a loft, on Broadway near Bleecker Street, in 1965. He enjoyed playing records for friends and invested in a high-quality sound system that featured two pairs of Klipschorn speakers, known for maintaining clarity even at high volume.
Economically pinched, Mr. Mancuso decided to issue invitations and sell tickets for what were essentially rent parties. The first, on Valentine’s Day 1970, bore the title Love Saves the Day, whose initials were significant.
“By the end of 1970 you couldn’t squeeze anyone else in, and it stayed like that for four and a half years, regardless,” the D.J. David Depino told Mr. Lawrence, a professor of cultural studies at the University of East London, for his website in 2013. “I remember when we had the first blizzard and people walked from over the Brooklyn Bridge.”
Mr. Mancuso did not call himself a D.J. He shrank from the limelight. His goal was to disappear into the music and allow its power to transform the audience.
A purist, he played records from beginning to end, untouched and unaltered. Responding to the energy of the crowd, he orchestrated a seamless, interruption-free wave of sound, with an integrated light show, that lasted until dawn.
Evenings were structured in three “bardos,” a term that Timothy Leary had taken from “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” to describe the phases of an LSD trip: a peaceful embarkation leading to Dionysian frenzy, followed by a calm re-entry into the real world.
Mr. Mancuso’s musical tastes were adventurous. “I would play everything from jazz to classical and everything in between,” he told the website in 2003. As the parties caught on, his nod of approval could move a record commercially. “Soul Makossa,” by the Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango, became a hit after Mr. Mancuso began playing it, and he gave early exposure to dance records like “Cherchez La Femme” by Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, and Ralph Macdonald’s “Calypso Breakdown,” featured on the soundtrack of the film “Saturday Night Fever.”
“It was amazing to go to a place that was playing records I’d never heard before and putting them together in a way I’d never heard before,” said Vince Aletti, who covered the disco scene for The Village Voice. “He heard connections between very different songs and musics and could put them together over a period of time, creating a sense of movement through the night that was nonstop.”
In 1975, Mr. Mancuso helped create the New York Record Pool, for distributing hard-to-get promotional records among the city’s growing population of D.J.s. It would then send information on how the records were being received back to the companies.
“The feedback would be just two things, personal reaction and floor reaction,” he told “From that, the record label would go back and redo it or whatever until they got it right.”
The Loft shifted location several times. After trouble with other tenants and the city’s Buildings Department, Mr. Mancuso moved to Prince Street in SoHo in 1975 and, when that building was sold, moved again in 1985, to the eastern fringes of the East Village, where the dangers of the neighborhood discouraged attendance. Rising rents and gentrification chased him from one location to the next for several years.
Mr. Mancuso later limited his parties to five or six a year in New York, at a rented location, and collaborated with organizers in Tokyo and London to present Loft-style parties.
There was no immediate word on survivors.
Mr. Mancuso’s approach remained the same. “It’s to support a lifestyle,” he told the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun in 1998. “It’s that simple. It’s nonprofit, self-supporting. I always like music, and I always like people being together.”15095077_10207920434028026_6431281305907059511_n

~ by Aphrosoul Lukumi on November 19, 2016.

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