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Gilles Peterson

Gilles Peterson may be the British equivalent to Motown's Berry Gordy in that these two men were responsible for sounds that changed the face of music history. Raised in South London by French/Swiss parents, Peterson grew up speaking French at home and English everywhere else. At 18, Peterson began DJing around London, ultimately spinning at the now-famous Dingwalls club in Camden. His sets covered the spectrum of urban music, from jazz to funk to soul and back to hip-hop. Out of this Peterson co-founded the Acid Jazz label with some colleagues. The name itself was a joke between Northern soul fan Eddie Piller and Peterson, but it soon became the catch phrase for the smooth, hip-hoppin', funk-influenced jazz that spread around the globe as both a sound and fashion. Acid Jazz became home to such artists as Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Mother Earth, and Courtney Pine. At the same time Peterson created compilations not only for his own label, but for Blue Note and Prestige. Peterson's work re-opened the jazz floodgates that seemed lodged shut for so long. While many jazz purists rejected the acid jazz movement, it rekindled an interest in jazz as a whole, keeping it alive in the 25-and-under demographic. Artists like Pharoah Sanders and Roy Ayers came back from obscurity and into the mainstream, largely because of Peterson's work. Peterson expanded his vision by creating the Talking Loud label, which came to include some of England's most innovative drum'n'bass artists like 4hero and Roni Size. Teaming up with onetime Talking Loud A&R man and DJ Norman Jay, Peterson's critically acclaimed JDJ Presents: Desert Island Mix captured the pair's love and understanding of music history. Two years later, Peterson followed up with a volume in the INCredible Sound series of mix albums. He continued to connect artists like Sun Ra to Roni Size to Gang Starr and back to Miles Davis with ease on his internationally syndicated radio shows On Jazz and Kiss FM. Ryan Randall Goble

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