MAESTRO, a feature documentary 4 years in the making, tells the story of how a group of people found refuge and a call for life outside the mainstream, what evolved was a scene that set the ground work for what was to come in dance music culture worldwide, a rare insight into the secret underground world.
It’s the first time this story is told in a motion Picture, included in the film are pioneer dance music DJs and producers, "founding fathers", its center being Larry Levan, as well as high-profile DJs of today.
It vividly portrays the world that spawned today's dance music from 2-step, to the eclectic sounds of tribal, to pop artists. Parties from Ibiza to Philly, all are influenced by the quintessential elements that made New York City's Paradise Garage and The Loft such a powerful cultural force in people's lives.
DJs Larry Levan, (Paradise Garage) and David Mancuso, (The Loft), continue to be revered today as the leaders of dance music culture worldwid. This seminal movement - encompassing dancers, patrons, artists, DJs, sound designers, and more - gave birth to DJ pioneers in the film and contemporary dance club parties across the globe.
MAESTRO, with a personal and candid approach, shows the true history of the people through a realistic creative aesthetic. Tracing the underground's dance origin, Maestro brings out a real understanding of this intense lifestyle, and the lives they lived and died for. It is far from mere nostalgia, this film is like the music and experiences it chronicles.
MAESTRO is the brainchild of Cuban-born and New York-raised Josell Ramos. His early years of photography and design have given him recognition as an emerging artist among his peers and professionals in the field, through his many published works.
4 years ago Josell began writing a spec for cable television telling the insights of underground dance music. While researching the people, Josell encountered untold stories. His first interviews just happened to be with DJs Nicky Siano and David Mancuso, two of the most prolific and influential Underground legends alive today.
He decided to scrap the show and concentrate his efforts on Maestro, a documentary about the underground dance music culture.
'Little Louie' Vega (The Face, March 2003)
[MAESTRO]... is a bible for the underground dance music movement
DeeJay Magazine (Spain)
Very special, fascinating... but most importantly it carries brutal emotion
Jamie Russel BBC Film
An important contribution... the cinematic equivalent of an archeological dig
Newsday (New York)
It told the story in a way that communicated the viscerallity of the music and the scene
KCBD (NBC News)
A must see documentary
Flaix TV (Spain)
Aaron Ross, BBC Radio (1XTRA, March 2003)
Tony Jones, GURN.NET (April 2003)
Masterpiece... [I] defy you not to be touched by it!
Beth Williams, BBCI (April 2003)
"Must-see documentary... brings out a poignant, warts 'n' all understandin of [an] intense lifestyle"
Josell Ramos, Director
"MAESTRO takes on a raw aesthetic, an ambient feel, the visual style keeps the authentic look of the 'Underground' as we know it... a visual roller coaster"
Jason Anderson, EYE weekly (June 2003 / Toronto)
"4 stars, Rapturous- an invaluable examination... That formed the basis of modern dance music."
MAESTRO has been released on DVD and CD in the USA on July 31, 2005.