Danny Tenaglia, perhaps the world’s most influential house-music DJ, here compiles two CDs of songs that to him are club classics. In doing so he plays down the turntable-improvisation side of his art in favor of the song-selection part — which is more than okay given that his song selecting tends to be every bit as improvisational as his turntable craft.
He begins the first CD’s garage-style house-music set with Cat Stevens’s fusion-jazz and funky " Was Dog a Doughnut, " then follows with Imagination’s British jazz-funk " Changes, " Kriss Coleman and Mr. Fingers’ early Chicago track " Shine, " and As One’s Sound Factory–ish " Just Friends. " Maybe Little Louie Vega would include the last two songs, but he’d cut and remix them to alter their shape. Tenaglia is perhaps the only star DJ who would let the oddity of the selections — and the sequencing — change the music’s shape all by itself. He also selects many songs that club addicts are apt to know: Fierce Ruling Diva’s " I Believe " on the first disc, Hugh Masekela’s " Don’t Go Lose It Baby " and Jomanda’s " Make My Body Rock " on the second.
But there’s art in the way that he blends each track into the next. The pace is languid, almost sleepy, and he’s able to move in any emotional direction he chooses, shaking the house-music dancer back and forth from Outer Limits’ " Mission Control " to the " pitched-down " male vocal of Tony Cook in " On the Floor (Rock It), " Sylvia Striplin’s almost forgotten " Give Me Your Love, " and Adeva’s deep-house anthem " Independent Woman. " Nostalgic and surprising at the same time — that’s Tenaglia’s take on " classic. "