I was very fortunate to have caught the Gilles Peterson/Havana Cultura show at La Tulipe a few years ago.
Back in the day, I picked up the INCredible Sound Of Gilles Peterson compilation. His name meant something to me because I had seen, read or heard it called often enough.
The track listing was mostly unfamiliar to me with the exception of J-Live’s guest appearance on Handsome Boy Modeling School's The Truth. I wasn’t a big fan of Rotary Connection but because he chose a track from Minnie Riperton’s former group, I allowed it.
Not too long after being introduced to my home-away-from-home Death of Vinyl, I heard a track played loud in the store and found out it was from the Eclectic Sessions Vol. 2 album. I'm not sure if I bought my copy that same night or during one of their sales afterwards. Next to be added to my music collection was the GP02 - Eclectic compilation. Again, I knew next to none of the artists except Moonstarr but bought it anyway.
His Gilles Peterson Worldwide Show represented what I aspire to achieve where radio is concerned.
Lastly, discovering he was involved with Brownswood Recordings was a pleasant surprise. I would learn about Jose James and Havana Culutra and his connection to those artists.
When I found out he and Havana Cultrura were coming to Montreal, I knew I had to be there. It was going to be a learning experience that I needed to be present for. In my quest to be a better DJ and radio show host, I need to be in the presence of musical masters like Peterson.
Not too long after I stood among the crowd, I caught sight of Gilles Peterson beside me, shook his hand and said "Welcome to Montreal".
His set was my second best DJ experience of my life after Theo Parrish at MUTEK. I knew a whopping 2-3 songs out of everything Peterson played that night but I loved everything that I didn’t know. He was amusing and entertaining to watch on stage. His dancing behind the DJ equipment, grimaces and great tracks made for a great night.
In closing, here’s another Gilles story proving what is already known about him.
One day, a friend and I were relaxing in the car listening to his Grandmaster Caz mixtape with no track listing. The first song/break/sample came on and I didn’t know what it was and wanted to. A mutual friend of ours approached us and we him invited into the car to relax with us. He miraculously pulled out his iPhone and told us the song could be found on Gilles Peterson Digs Africa.
Thank goodness for technology and Gilles Peterson.