Frankie Knuckles "Escapade Chicago" 2000.







     This post is a very special one as it's on someone whom if it were not for the crafting of his sound specifically to the crowd here in Chicago, and those whom he inspired that went on and created their own music, there might not be this music we call "House" today. But sadly it's also falls on the first anniversary of his untimely death. The Godfather of House music, Frankie Knuckles.

     On March 31th, 2014, the world received the news of his sudden passing and it's left a void in the Dance Music community here and around the world ever since. Many thought as I did that it was a cruel April fools joke being that the news started to make it's way around online the evening before April First. As time passed friends close to Knuckles as did various Social Media sites confirmed that his death was in fact true. In a email released to the press by Fredrick Dunson, a long time friend and business partner of Knuckles, he stated that Knuckles had died at his home in Chicago of then unknown causes but later it was revealed that he had succumb to complications due to Type II Diabetes. Knuckles had developed the decease in the mid 2000's and has battled with it ever since.

     Knuckles has had countless production and remix credits to his name and a list of artists that he's worked with over the years that included Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross just to name a few. He's travel'd the world over all while touching people with his spiritual sets and warm heart along the way. And if it were not for fellow DJ and friend Larry Lavan turning down an opportunity to be the resident at a club that mutual friend Robert Williams was opening here back in the the late 70's, Chicago and Dance Music as a whole, might be in a different place then it is now or maybe not even be in existence.




     This mix, which was also mastered by Live Sets Chicago's own "The Datman" at the time, was given out at D/E Entrainment and Tabernacle Chicago's event of the same name back in 2000. The two production companies put on events at various venues such as The House Of Blues and Crobar over the years which featured Knuckles as the DJ for the night. The event was held at The House Of Blues main room and from what I remember the DJ booth was set-up in one of the balconies off to the right so that left the main stage free for people to dance on which they did this night. This was one of many events that Knuckles performed at that we had the privilege of attending and memories do sometimes seam to blend together. But a few do stand out from this night in particular that I'd like to share.

     At one point during the night I found myself dancing next to a large group of people and what looked like a bodyguard in front of them. As the night went on I found out it was then rising pop star Christina Aguilera and her entourage that were in attendance. Aguilera, who was on tour around that time, was enjoying the music as her security stood watch. The other was during the end of the night as I went up to the booth I heard a fan with an Italian accent asking Knuckles if he could sign a empty champagne bootle for him to take as a souvenir. Knuckles told him "They're never going to let you take that out of here"! The fan just laughed as Knuckles signed it. The fan proceeded to stuff the bottle down his pants and walked away as everyone in attendance stood there and laughed as Frankie just shook his head.





                      I would say that "Escapade Chicago" is a mix of hope, inspiration and determination. With lyrics such as "They can't take that away from me", "Don't you ever give up" and "Brighter days are just around the bend" it's hard not to feel motivated after listening to it. As how many felt after experiencing one of Knuckles energetic and spiritual sets. As with other mixes on our site, we try and share lost, classic of forgotten mixes or ones that have a story behind them that we feel need or should to be told. And in this case pay tribute to someone's who's brought countless others joy and happiness in their lives and spread House Music around the world. But sadly it's also a reminder of how his sound is and will be missed by those experienced his sets or listened to his music.

     Since we started writing this post, there have been a few announcements that involve Frankie's legacy that we wanted to include. First there was a foundation created in his name called The Frankie Knuckles Foundation. The foundations's primary goal is to preserve and keep the musical legacy of Kunckles alive through media, events, conversation, artistic endeavors and eduction. The foundations site is still in the works but a donate page is linked on the address above. On the anniversary of his death, there were two events that took place in Chicago. One celebrating his life, the other looking to tell it on the big screen. First there was a Boiler Room event at Smartbar Chicago. Knuckles had performed at the venue for over the past 32 years and from what we understand, was the first resident DJ the club ever had. This event was the only official International tribute to the late artist as approved by The Frankie Knuckle Foundation and his estate. The event featured Chicago DJs Elbert Philips, Alan King, Michael Serafini and Derrick Carter. All of which had an intimate and intractable connection with Knuckles over the years and are great artists in there own right. Lastly there was a production kick off party for "The Warehouse". A movie in the works recounting the story behind Chicago's "Warehouse Club" where Knuckles started his career here in the late 1970's and where "House Music" got it's name. It will also tell his legacy behind the decks and will go into detail about his relationship with long time friend Robert Williams, who originally asked Knuckles to move here from New York to DJ at the famed Chicago after-hour night club.

     If you haven't already, click on Live Sets Chicago or our Facebook tab on the upper right hand corner of our blog to follow us and keep up to date with what we have going on our fan page. While there, get links to other mixes and events we're supporting or recording, classic and current party flyers  and more. And of course, be sure to visit The Frankie Knuckles Foundation and support the fund to keep Knuckles legacy alive for generations to come.

     Special thanks to Frederick Dunson from "The Frankie Knuckles Foundation".


Hope this finds you all well.

Cheers!

Gus "Audio"


© Live Sets Chicago. 2015.

7 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for keeping this blog spot with these gems!! I love this music so much. I have been ill lately, and this has truly lifted my spirits thankyou!~~~~KB

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  2. Thank you for the kind words. More to come. Cheers from Chicago!

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  3. I was very moved about this post. As a blogger of House Music, it is very important to keep the legacy of Frankie Knuckles alive and well. I could never be in a world without House Music. Thank God for Frankie!! Thank you for this awesome piece! Antoine H2S of HouseHeadSpeaks.com

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    1. Thanks for that Antoine. He may be gone but will never be forgotten.

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  4. This place was very comfortable. Restrooms were decent. Coming here with my friends was an amazing experience. This is my favorite place now for events in New York, because of its excellent food, perfect lighting, vibrant atmosphere and great ventilation.

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  6. I am also a great fan of Frankie Knuckles but I am amazed to know about his death here in this blog. You know guys once I attended his music show at venues in Chicago and truly what a day it was.

    ReplyDelete