This Sunday 27th November is Ministry of Sound’s second 'A Night In Paradise' fundraiser party, after a hugely successful sell-out event this time last year. It’s a night to commemorate New York’s legendary Paradise Garage, where house music was born from its house DJ Larry Levan and his contemporaries.
The club is also remembered fondly for its LGBT culture, and for being one of very few places that would admit people suffering from HIV during the endemic. Paradise Garage also hosted the world’s first ever HIV fundraiser in 1982. Profits from the event are being split between New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the UK’s Terrence Higgins Trust.
Ministry Of Sound has booked some of the biggest New York names to ever grace the Garage since 1977 until its closure 10 years later: Jellybean Benitez, David Depino, Joey Llanos, Victor Rosado, and Severino all feature in the main room, with Rochelle Fleming of First Choice providing vocals on the night.
I had a chat with house hero, Jellybean Benitez, about the event, what it means to him and his fellow New York turntablists, and how he’s managed to keep his career as active as ever since the early '80s.
Jellybean (acquiring the monicker from his initials, J.B) was raised in the South Bronx area of New York after moving from Puerto Rico with his mother and sister. After regularly attending disco nights in Manhattan, his desire to become a DJ became strong, and before long he was a big name fixture at many of New York’s biggest clubs, Paradise Garage among them. Jellybean would eventually become famous for remixes, putting his own touch on tracks by Madonna, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, A-Ha and more. He also produced Madonna’s hit, Holiday.