When ‘Little’ Louie Vega and Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez first settled on a name for their house music and remix production team – Masters At Work – it must have been with some trepidation. Or perhaps they knew, even back then in 1990, as they asked Todd Terry to loan them the name, that seventeen years later it would be more apt than ever?
Effectively soundtracking the global nightclub scene of the 1990s, Vega and Gonzalez blended their love of the disparate music coming from New York’s underground clubs during the 1980s – disco, the freewheeling garage scene, emerging house and hip-hop styles, Latin freestyle – to enormously influence the mainstream dance sound as it coalesced during the following decade.
With some of the biggest productions and remixes under their belt Masters At Work have never felt the need to stand still. Moving with the music and the changes and always injecting that organic New York sound to whatever they do. Often changing moniker in order to release new music, Gonzalez and Vega have been known to record as KenLou, MAW, 200 Sheep, Groove Box, River Ocean and Nuyorican Soul.
The latter was, some might say, their most ambitious project. Within the start of the first few bars of “The Nervous Track” astute listeners were aware that something had changed forever – the Nuyorican Soul project had hit its mark. Garnering massive critical success, the CD of the summer in ’97 saw the duo doing their thing with George Benson, Tito Puente, Roy Ayers, Charlie Sepulveda, Dave Valentin and others, spawning several hits including “Runaway” and “It’s Alright I Feel It”.
More recent projects have seen them remixing and re-editing the hits of West End records as well as compiling CDs for Defected In The House and Soul Heaven. They pre-empted, yet again, the twists and turns of the global house community with MAW’s minimal, electronic Trans and Body and both halfs of the partnership have been kept extremely busy with solo projects, Louie with his hugely well respected Vega Records (not to mention winning a Grammy for his remixing of Curtis Mayfield) and Kenny with his reissues of rare groove material like Clyde Alexander and the back catalogue of P+P Records.
Both maintain a busy Global DJing schedule, more often than not appearing on their own, as individual guests, rather than as a duo.