Over the past 25 years, the name Gilles Peterson has gradually become synonymous with his self-styled ‘worldwide’ sound and his eternal quest for the perfect beat. Coming from French-Swiss parentage in South London, Gilles worked his way up the greasy pole of the music industry, taking on lowly jobs at record labels and setting up his own pirate radio station, to eventually become one of the most revered tastemakers in the UK and beyond.
I first met Billy and Miriam of Norton Records and Kicks Books at one the Big Ten Inch parties that ran out of Brooklyn, spinning mostly old 78 RPM records. We then got to know each other even closer when hurricane Sandy hit their warehouses in Red Hook and flooded their entire stock. I was living a few blocks away and immediately ran over to help them salvage the records, recruit other volunteers, and bring my camera along to film the disaster.