Gilles Peterson

Gilles Peterson

Gilles Peterson (born 28 September [Date (not including year), as mentioned by Gilles on his radio show, 3.50am Thursday 02 October 2008] c.1964 [Guinness Who's who of Popular Music Pub 1 Oct 93, Guinness World Records Limited ] ) is a DJ, record collector and record label owner from London, UK.

Through his labels Acid Jazz, Talkin' Loud, and latterly Brownswood Recordings, he has been associated with the careers of countless well-known artists of the 1990s such as Erykah Badu and Tony Rich plus Jamiroquai. He is also well known as a radio DJ. After starting out on pirate radio, and having shows on various legal London-based radio stations, most noticeably including Kiss FM dance music station, he was recruited to the BBC's youth-oriented Radio 1 in 1998. Peterson is known for his eclectic musical selections, and has even been occasionally mentioned as "the new John Peel". However whilst the late John Peel had an "anything goes" range of tastes displayed on his show, Peterson's focus has always been Jazz music, generally Modern Jazz, with a strong emphasis on its use in a club environment, mixed with associated music styles. So you would hear him playing anything from dub and reggae through jazz, nu-jazz, funk, soul, neo soul, quality R&B to drum and bass, house, broken beat, hip-hop, Jazz-funk, latin, bossa nova, samba and beyond.

Widely acclaimed as a musical tastemaker, he spreads his influence on music listeners around the world mostly through his [ "Worldwide"] radio show on BBC Radio 1 which is also broadcast live on the Radio 1 website and available for audio streaming online for seven days from broadcast. He also does another version of the show which gets syndicated to radio stations all over the world, such as FM4 in Austria and Radio Helsinki in Finland, and does a British Airways in-flight entertainment show too. Parallel to this, his frequent DJing gigs around the world also have cemented a worldwide following -- perhaps rather apt, given the name of his radio show is "Worldwide". He has recently been involved with the start of new record label Brownswood Recordings, named after the road in North London where the house he used to live is, though he has since had to move out of after his record collection became too big, and which now acts as a warehouse for his enormous collection of vinyl records. Incidentally, this new label should not be confused with Talkin' Loud, the previous label he was involved with, imprint label called Brownswood Records (note: "Records" NOT "Recordings") which was used to release music from the United Future Organization as well as other Japanese associated projects.


Attending The John Fisher School, in the mid- and late- 1980s, Gilles Peterson was already known on the London circuit as a DJ specialising in the new breed of "acid jazz", drawing on the jazz, funk and Latin fusions of the 1970s. First heard as a DJ on the London pirate radio station Solar, he went on to host the show 'Mad On Jazz' on BBC Radio London between 1986 and 1987, then ran a notable club night in Camden.


That notable club, and one of Gilles Peterson's best remembered club sessions, was "Talkin' Loud Sayin' Something" at the old Dingwalls club in Camden, North West London which ran from the late 1980s until March 1991. The sessions were characterised by jazz dancers in suits hats and spats, heavyweight jazz dance classics including tracks from Yusef Lateef, Pharoah Sanders, Freddie Hubbard, Airto and Herbie Hancock and the anthemic 'n the fast lane' by Jean Luc Ponty; but the jazz was fused with hip-hop and the more experimental tracks. Gilles played alongside fellow London DJ Patrick Forge at most of the Dingwalls' sessions, as well as separately at many other underground club nights and music weekenders.

On October 8, 2006, both Gilles & Patrick played at a one-off show at the old site of Dingwalls (now a Jongleurs comedy club). A compilation album of popular songs from the club was also released at the same time, titled "Sunday Afternoon At Dingwalls".

Jazz FM

In March 1990 Peterson became a disc jockey on London's first ever dedicated jazz station 102.2 Jazz FM, now known as Smooth FM. The three hour show was stripped into sections including the 'Samba 60' and the 'Vibrazone' and artists as diverse as Justin Warfield, Sergio Mendes and Leon Thomas would all appear on the same playlist. He was forced to leave the station after making anti-war comments during the 1st Gulf War.

Kiss 100 FM

September 1990 saw famous London pirate dance music station Kiss 100 FM become legal when it acquired a licence and started to broadcast from Holloway Road in North London. Patrick Forge was then given the space to create his own show, with the two DJs continuing to work together at Dingwalls until the 'last dance' on 3 March 1991.

Gilles then moved over to Kiss himself, having been fired by Jazz FM for making anti-war comments during the first Gulf War. His shows on Kiss were legendary, playing acts as diverse as Josh Wink, Gang Starr and Horace Silver in the space of a single programme. He was then hired by BBC Radio 1 in 1998 and still takes great pride in the show's concept of 'joining the dots' between different styles of music.

Radio 1

From 1998 to the present, through his BBC show "Worldwide", which was produced by long time collaborator Benji B, Peterson has continued to stretch the musical boundaries. The show has always highlighted both new, but more importantly for the audience it is supposed to serve, older and often very rare records from the late-1950's to 1980's. In fact every three months or so, Gilles dedicates a whole show to older vinyl releases in a special version of his show he subtitles a "Brownswood Basement", and also two associated compilation albums with the same name containing older personal classics have been released on the US label Ubiquity Records's offshoot Luv N' Haight. In common with both "Brownswood" labels he has been associated with, the name comes from the road in North London his house was —effectively now just a place he uses to store his huge record collection— and where he compiles releases drawn from his collection in the basement.

In August 2004 the show moved from Wednesday (midnight til 2am) to an earlier Sunday slot (11:00 to 01:00) with a spectacular live outside broadcast from The Big Chill at Eastnor Castle Herefordshire featuring Bugz In The Attic performing a DJ set, and interviews with house DJ Tom Middleton and Mr. Scruff.

One of the highlights of the new format BBC Radio 1 show was the special sessions from the BBC's legendary Maida Vale studios. These have included artists such as Roots Manuva, Outlines and Platinum Pied Pipers to name but a few.

Radio shows and DJing gigs continue to fuse hip-hop, jazz and soul with the newer styles of broken beat and nu jazz alongside the odd dub plate and drum and bass track. He has also released several DJ mix and compilation albums. Peterson is a regular at the Southport Music Weekender, and plays regularly at London's Cargo at a night called "Independent Mix", which takes a similar format to Dingwalls with guest DJ's and bands.

In September 2006, Peterson's show on Radio 1 was moved from Sunday night to Wednesday night (more precisely the early hours of Thursday morning), 02:00 to 04:00 (GMT). The first show included a live appearance from Lupe Fiasco.

In 2002 he released a compilation album titled Impressed with Gilles Peterson, featuring rare and forgotten about British Jazz from the 1950-1960's, that Peterson had collected over the years. This was met with critical acclaim and led to many of the records being re-released to a new audience. This in turn led to a series of concerts featuring some of the artists, including Stan Tracy, and a documentary about the history of British Jazz - Jazz Brittanica. This series was so successful it led to further Britannic projects (Soul, Folk etc).

Worldwide Winners

Annually, Gilles picks his favourite records of the year, known as his "Worldwide Winners", which listeners of his radio show can vote on via the Radio 1 website to get down to a final top-10 list of winners. In recent years, from 2004 onwards, this has been expanded into the "Worldwide Winners Awards" with an event held at a London club venue; Cargo in 2004 and onto the bigger Koko in Camden in 2005, with full outside broadcast coverage by Radio 1, and expanded sections like "Best Clubnight", "Best Recordshop", "Best Compilation Album", and a special award called "The John Peel "'Play More Jazz'" Award" given to an artist, often newcomer, who has displayed special noteworthy work over the year.

Record Labels

Gilles Peterson has been integrally linked with 3 record labels. In 1988 he and Eddie Pillar founded Acid Jazz Records, an influential label whose roster included the Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Corduroy, the James Taylor Quartet and Snowboy. After growing disillusioned with the scene that grew up around the label, he went on to run Talkin' Loud, enlisting the help of fellow DJ Norman Jay.

The label drew it's name from the James Brown track "Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Nothing" that had inspired the name of his club at Dingwalls. The roster of Talkin' Loud included Nuyorican Soul (a side project of the producers Masters At Work), Courtney Pine, MJ Cole, Young Disciples, Incognito, Terry Callier, The Roots, Galliano and Roni Size's project Reprazent. Courtney Pine, Young Disciples, MJ Cole & 4 Hero all received nominations for the Mercury Music Prize, and in 1997 Reprazent actually won the prize.

Peterson's most recent record label, Brownswood Recordings, was launched in 2006. To date the label has released records by British singer/songwriter Ben Westbeech, 45 piece live act The Heritage Orchestra, Japanese punk jazz band Soil & "Pimp" Sessions, Brooklyn based pianist Elan Mehler, jazz vocalist José James, and two volumes of a soulful compilation album series called "Brownswood Bubblers".


Peterson has made very many regular appearances at music festivals across the world including Lovebox in east London, The Big Chill in Hereford and the Southport Weekender [ [ Southport Weekender website, accessed 28 Sep 2006] ] in the north west of England. Away from the UK he has appeared at the Exit Festival in Serbia and in 2005 the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Worldwide Festival

Giles and Freshly Cut, a French event production company from Montpellier, collaborated to create the unique [ Worldwide Festival] . This started out as a small intimate festival during the summertime in the coastal town of Sète in France in 2006. It was expanded to three festivals, in London, Shanghai and Sète in 2007. In 2008 it will have expanded to take place in London, Beijing, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Singapore and Sète.


*Jazz Juice Street Sounds 1985
*Jazz Juice 2 Street Sounds 1985
*Cal's Pals BGP Records 1987
*Focus On Fusion BGP Records 1987
*Focus On Fusion (Volume 2) BGP Records 1987
*Jazz Juice 6 Street Sounds 1987
*Acid Inc., The Best Of Funk Inc. BGP Records 1988
*Acid Jazz And Other Illicit Grooves Polydor (Germany) 1988
*Acid Jazz Vol. 1 BGP Records 1988
*Acid Jazz Vol. 2 BGP Records 1988
*Acid Jazz Vol. 3 BGP Records 1991
*B&G Party BGP Records 1988
*Beat On (The Best Of The Blackbyrds) BGP Records 1988
*Jazz Juice 7 Street Sounds 1988
*The Best Of Azymuth BGP Records 1988
*The Best Of Acid Jazz BGP Records 1989
*Totally Wired Acid Jazz 1989
*Totally Wired II Acid Jazz 1989
*Acid Inc., The Best Of Funk Inc. BGP Records 1991
*Brasil - Escola Do Jazz Toshiba EMI Ltd 1994
*Brazilica! Talkin' Loud 1994
*Talkin' Jazz Vol. 2: More Themes From The Black Forest Talkin' Loud, Polydor (Germany) 1994
*Talkin' Jazz: Themes From The Black Forest Talkin' Loud 1994
*Jazz Juice # 2 Beechwood Music, Street Sounds 1995
*Jazz Juice # 3 Beechwood Music, Street Sounds 1995
*Brazilica, Volume II Talkin' Loud 1997
*Pozytywne Wibracje 1 [Brand New Acid Jazz Collection] I Hear Your Name PolyGram *Polska, STX Records (2) 1997
*Max City Guide - London (12", Promo, Smplr) Motor Music 1998
*Talkin' Headz - The Metalheadz Documentary The Metalheadz Documen... Manga *Entertainment Ltd, Palm Pictures 1998
*INCredible Sound of Gilles Peterson INCredible 1999
*Sound Of The City Vol. 2 - London Motor Music, Universal Jazz (Germany) 1999
*Sound Of The City Vol. 2 - London Universal Jazz (Germany), Motor Music 1999
*Gilles Peterson: Worldwide Programme 1 Talkin' Loud 2000
*INCredible Sound Of Gilles Peterson Epic 2000
*Gilles Peterson GP03 Trust The DJ 2002
*Gilles Peterson Worldwide 2 Programme 2 Talkin' Loud 2002
*Impressed With Gilles Peterson Universal Jazz (UK) 2002
*Impressed With Gilles Peterson Universal Jazz (UK) 2002
*Gilles Peterson Eclectic Sessions Vol. 2 Trust The DJ 2003
*Gilles Peterson Worldwide 3 Talkin' Loud 2003
*Southport Weekender suSU 2003
*Gilles Peterson In Brazil Ether 2004
*Gilles Peterson Worldwide Exclusives Talkin' Loud 2004
*Gilles Peterson Worldwide Exclusives 1 (10", Promo) Talkin' Loud 2004
*Gilles Peterson Worldwide Exclusives 2 (10", Promo) Talkin' Loud 2004
*Gilles Peterson Worldwide Exclusives 3 (10", Promo) Talkin' Loud 2004
*Gilles Peterson Worldwide Exclusives 4 (10", Promo) Talkin' Loud 2004
*Impressed 2 with Gilles Peterson Universal Jazz (UK) 2004
*Brasil - The Rhythm And Art Of Movement Nike, Inc. 2005
*Gilles Peterson Digs America Luv N' Haight 2005
*Gilles Peterson In Africa Ether 2005
*Gilles Peterson Presents - The BBC Sessions (Volume 1) Ether 2005
*Gilles Peterson Presents BBC Sessions Ether 2005
*Petit Dejeuner Au Lit! Most Records 2005
*Brownswood Bubblers Brownswood Recordings 2006
*Gilles Peterson & Patrick Forge Present - Sunday Afternoon At Dingwalls Ether 2006
*Gilles Peterson Back In Brazil Ether 2006
*House Bash-Up Mix By Switch Because I Can Mixmag 2006
*Pure Fire! A Gilles Peterson Impulse! Collection Impulse! 2006
*The Kings Of Jazz (Promo) Rapster Records 2006
*The Kings Of Jazz (Part B) Rapster Records 2006
*Brownswood Bubblers Two Brownswood Recordings 2007
*Fania DJ Series Gilles Peterson Fania Records 2007
*Gilles Peterson In the House Defected 2008


External links

* [] -- official website.
* [ MySpace page] on MySpace.
* [ YouTube page] on YouTube.
* [ homepage] on BBC Radio 1 website.
* [ biography] on BBC Radio 1 website.
* [ discography] at Discogs.
* [ interview] at
* [ label history] of Talkin' Loud ("including Gilles' part in it").
* [ Brownswood Recordings] (official site of Brownswood Recordings).
* [ Brownswood Recordings group] at Last.FM.
* [ Worldwide Festival] (official site of the Worldwide Festival).
* [ Gilles Peterson Album Club] -- Gilles delivers his personal music recommendations and exclusive content.

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