Timmy Regisford with Blueprint, Moreno and Denise Benson at Roxy Blu (12 Brant), Friday (August 17). $15. Tickets at Play de Record, Rotate This, Cosmos, Vice and Traxx. www.garage416.com Rating: NNNNN
At a time when it's rare for a club to stay open for more than five years, it's even more unusual to come across a DJ who can maintain a residency for long.
Soulful New York house legend Timmy Regisford has the distinction of holding a Saturday-night residency for 10 years at Shelter, one of the most well-regarded ongoing parties in the Big Apple.
The original Shelter club is now Vinyl, the home of Body And Soul and Danny Tenaglia's Be Yourself.
"It closed because we couldn't get a liquor licence. It just wasn't feasible to keep it open, so we sold it and kept the Saturday night," Regisford explains from New York.
"There are all these different laws that make it very difficult to open a club. No matter where you go, people want to dance, but the mayor just doesn't want New York to be one of those places."
Playing Friday at Garage 416 in his first Canadian appearance, Regisford plans a four-and-a-half-hour set of classics and current anthems as well as new stuff from his label.
He started his DJ career in the early 80s after being inspired by Larry Levan's marathon sets at the Paradise Garage. Regisford has also worked as an A&R man for several major labels, and is currently vice-president of A&R at DreamWorks.
He was responsible for signing Ten City to Atlantic, a deal that brought them close to mainstream success but fell apart after a few albums. Ibadan Records has since bought up their back catalogue and is re-releasing it, sparking renewed interest in the band.
"Back then the record companies weren't really taking dance music seriously. They're still not. As an A&R person, you're hired to go out and find hit records. A dance act may break through every few years, but it's nothing that major labels have ever wanted to put a big investment into, because they just never saw the potential.
"I think it's changing -- in another three or four years it's going to become mainstream. But that's only going to happen if the producers are recording songs, not just tracks.
"From the early 90s to about 98, people were just releasing tracks, and you can't sell instrumental music. Now the guys are writing songs again, which is good. I do play instrumental stuff, but it has to be song-oriented."
His own label, Shelter Records, has been instrumental in shaping the sound of New York house, releasing anthems by Blaze, Kenny Bobien, Kerri Chandler and Joe Claussell.
"Dance music is a love and a passion for me -- it's not a business. Working with DreamWorks is a business that I love, but it is a business."