October 20, 1944 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Deejay, party promoter|
David Mancuso (born October 20, 1944, New York City) created the popular "by invitation only" parties in New York City later known as "The Loft". The first party "Love Saves The Day" was in 1970. Before this, he was playing records for his friends on a semi-regular basis as early as 1966, and these parties became so popular that by 1971 he and Steve Abramowitz, who worked the door, decided to do this on a weekly basis. His parties were similar to rent party or house party.
Mancuso pioneered the "private party" as distinct from the more commercial nightclub business model. In the early '70s, Mancuso won a long administrative trial when the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that he was not selling food or beverages to the public and therefore did not need a NYC "Cabaret License".
Mancuso's success at keeping his parties "underground" and legal inspired others, and many famous private discothèques of the 70s and 80s were modelled after The Loft, including the Paradise Garage, The Gallery, and The Saint. Mancuso also helped start the record pool system for facilitating the distribution of promotional records to the qualified disc jockey.
In 1999 and 2000 David Mancuso and Colleen Murphy produced the compilation series "David Mancuso Presents The Loft" Volumes One and Two on Nuphonic.
In 2003 Tim Lawrence's book "Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979" was published, comprising a comprehensive study of Mancuso's life. Mancuso and The Loft also appear in Josell Ramos' 2003 documentary Maestro about 70s underground club DJs.
In May 2008, David Mancuso, with the help of Goshi Manabe, Colleen Murphy and Satoru Ogawa, launched his own audiophile record label The Loft Audiophile Library of Music. The music is mastered by Stan Ricker.
Mancuso had an unusual style of playing records. He was known for leaving space between each track, playing them fully from beginning to end with no adjustments. He had a reverence for music, especially good, new music, and his skill lied less in tricks and mixing and more in storytelling. He used each song to create a profound musical narrative to generate and reflect a changing mood. Mancuso told The Village Voice, “I spent a lot of time in the country, listening to birds, lying next to a spring and listening to water go across the rocks. And suddenly one day I realized, what perfect music. Like with sunrise and sunset, how things would build up into midday. There were times when it would be intense and times it would be very soft, and at sunset it would get quiet and then the crickets would come in. I took this sense of rhythm, this sense of feeling…”
It is difficult to say whether Mancuso’s ideals were an encapsulation of a common feeling during the budding disco era or if he played an important role in providing dance music with its obsession with freedom and inclusivity. Either way, he provided a definitive source for optimistic faith in equality within the Disco genre. His gentle spirit permeated the music he played and his message of love rarely went unnoticed. 
- The New York Times
- The New York Times
- Brewster, Bill (2000). Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. Headline Book Publishing.
- David Mancuso discography at Discogs
- David Mancuso interview at DiscoMusic.com
- Mancuso club in Tübingen, Germany