Gilles Peterson Biography

Gilles Moerhle, 20 August 1964. Peterson is a respected figure on the UK’s less commercial dance music scene, staying successful and influential throughout many phases of its development. He has remained committed to truly eclectic forms of dance music that draw their influences from a broad palette, including Latin, jazz, funk, Caribbean and African styles. He is also known for bringing jazz into dance, particularly through his label, Acid Jazz Records, whose name became applied to a whole genre of funky, brass-inflected dance music in the early 90s, notably by artists such as the Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai.

Peterson grew up in south London, speaking French to his French/Swiss parents and quickly developing an interest in jazz. He broadcast his own pirate radio station from his parent’s garden shed while still a teenager. He first played a DJ set at the age of 18 at Camden’s Electric Ballroom before progressing to his own club nights at the Wag in Soho, London and ‘The Sunday Afternoon Session’ at Dingwalls in Camden, where his sets embraced jazz, soul, funk and rap. He has broadcast on pirate and legitimate radio stations, including the UK’s Kiss 100 FM, Jazz FM, Radio 1 FM and various Internet ‘radio stations’. With the backing of Phonogram and the help of Norman Jay, he set up Talkin’ Loud Records in 1990. The label has had considerable success with artists such as Galliano, Young Disciples, Urban Species and especially with Roni Size, whose debut, New Forms won a UK Mercury Prize in 1997

In the late 90s, Peterson compiled a mix album, Desert Island Mix, with Jay and ran London clubs including ‘The Way It Is’ with James Lavelle of Mo’ Wax Records and ‘Far East’ at the Blue Note. He also released The INCredible Sound Of Gilles Peterson, an eclectic blend of funk, jazz, Latin and soul united by his search for the perfect groove. After releasing several less than stellar mix sets, Peterson returned to his roots in 2003 with an excellent compilation of obscure 60s cuts by UK-based jazz musicians.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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