As founder of The Warehouse and The Muzik Box and the man who brought Frankie Knuckles to Chicago, Robert Williams always has some strong opinions on the scene. Back in 2009, 5 Mag was interviewing him — like 3 or 4 of us peppering him with questions about Chicago house music in 1979 and 2009 and all the years in between. There were only a few DJs, Robert said, who really got it, who understood everything about this music and culture and had both the skills and the taste to be considered the whole package. Ron Trent was one he mentioned a lot that day:

I like the guys who have integrity – the guys who aren’t playing at Lucy’s Bar and Grill in the basement. You can’t hire Ron Trent to play at a little tavern – he won’t just take a gig for the sake of having something to do. I like that. I think he’ll compromise for the right person and will play for people he respects, but he won’t just crash the party to have something to do for a few hours or a few more dollars in his pocket.


Ron also understood Frankie’s production career — not just the early tracks or the late ones but the whole discography, from the raw recordings of the ’80s to the smooth-as-silk soulful productions from Noice!, Director’s Cut and the sound featured on Tales From Beyond The Tone Arm.

Maybe that’s why “7th Heaven” hits different than so many other Frankie Knuckles tribute records. Written in the hours and days after Frankie’s death to help cope with or process the loss, “7th Heaven” is a meditation on that complete body of work plus Trent’s rumination on the artist and the person who he knew from close contact. The glistening keys bring to mind the soulful R&B singers that Frankie loved as Trent — like all worthwhile teachers, a great student — lovingly recreates the signature percussion and nods to several Frankie Knuckles hits.

It’s not hard to write love songs — some of the most miserable people on earth have written some of the best — but it’s not so easy to write and record such a pure expression of love. That’s what this record is: it’s a pure expression of love.

Released on single-sided vinyl in late 2014 or early 2015, “7th Heaven” is being reissued in very limited numbers (or try here).

RT Sound Factor: 7th Heaven (Electric Blue / 12″ Vinyl / March 2023)
1. RT Sound Factor: 7th Heaven (11:21)

⚪️ Disclosure Statement: This record was not submitted as a promo.


Previous Coverage:
Ron Trent remixes Fort Romeau on “The Truth” (2022)
Ron Trent and Khruangbin drop “Flos Potentia” (2022)
Yellow Jackets releases rare Ron Trent track The Medi (2022)
City Beat: The New World of Ron Trent (2011)
Ron Trent: The 5 Magazine Interview (2007)


Originally published in 5 Mag issue 204 featuring Reggie Dokes, Aterral Records, Maggie Tra, Carlo, Demuir, Cyphon & more. Help support 5 Mag by becoming a member for just $1 per issue.

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