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GILLES PETERSON

Worldwide sounds

by Richard Smart

In Britain, dance culture went into overdrive in the late 1980s, largely because of one thing: Ecstasy. As well as helping shy people dance, Ecstasy also meant that people could stay up for the entire weekend, partying at raves to acid house music. These same clubbers also needed a place to head to after the effects of the drug began to wear off. Enter the likes of Gilles Peterson, whose reputation as an eclectic DJ was forged when he started his “Sunday Sessions” club events in Camden, north London. Peterson DJs at Club Yellow in Tokyo on Sept. 16 before playing Osaka’s Club Noon on Sept. 23.

Primarily a jazz fan fortunate enough to have been in the right place at the right time, Peterson’s events became popular not only with Saturday-night ravers, but also a whole new generation of musicians. Acid jazz, as the burgeoning scene became known, included artists such as Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai. And the first place to hear it was at Peterson’s events.

After a stint at London radio station Kiss FM, Gilles found himself with his own show on BBC Radio 1, where he proved himself to have the most diverse taste of any DJ since John Peel.

It’s an eclecticism reflected in Peterson’s DJ sets that go beyond his jazz roots and into drum ‘n’ bass, house, and underground dance music from around the world, as evidenced on his “Worldwide” compilation and “Gilles Peterson in . . .” series of albums.

Gilles Peterson DJs at Club Yellow (www.club-yellow.com) in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo, on Sept. 16. Admission is 4,000 yen at the door; he then plays at Club Noon (www.noon-web.com) in Osaka (3,000 yen in advance) on Sept. 23.