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The Police: a perfect fit for freethinking

The Police: a perfect fit for freethinking

I was born in 1975. This puts me at 11 years old when just about the most exciting news came my way. When the music video for a track that I didn’t know was incoming burst onto my TV set, I was jumping for joy, and reaching for the [record] button on my VCR. Looking […]

Donald Byrd: class is over

Donald Byrd: class is over

It wasn’t entirely clear when the news started to filter through last week, but now mainstream news sites are confirming the sad news that Donald Byrd is no longer with us. The eulogies will be long, glowing, and full of praise for this jazz trumpeter who, through a long career, helped to shape music as […]

Of Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and Gil Evans

Of Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and Gil Evans

Ron Carter is high up there. His contribution to the world of music is indisputable. Some of Herbie Hancock’s finest recordings – including Maiden Voyage and Empyryan Isles – were graced by the genius of his bass work. He was there when it mattered, alongside Miles, as a new age in jazz was dawning. I […]

Blues with Balls

Blues with Balls

This week I heard someone refer to the freethinking movement as being about ‘Northern music’. While I’d plead guilty to music from The Old Country getting more than its fair share on these pages, I don’t think that a few articles in praise of the sounds of Manchester really qualify (or condemn, depending on your […]

Terry Callier: An Extraordinary Joe

Terry Callier: An Extraordinary Joe

Well, thank God for that. As 2012 shuffles into the past tense, let’s just take a moment to reflect over the number of musical greats who suffered the same change of tense last year: Fontella Bass, MCA, Dave Brubeck, Hal David, Donna Summer, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn. Honestly, it’s just too many – and I know […]

Herbie Hancock: a chameleon

Herbie Hancock: a chameleon

I’m not a religious man, but I do have an almost unshakable belief that having a pint on a Friday night is one of life’s pleasures. Throw in a chat about music with a good mate over said pint, and you’ve got a winning formula for the end of a working week. A couple of […]

Dear Kate, thanks for everything, Love Florence

Dear Kate, thanks for everything, Love Florence

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit down on Florence. And her Machine. When I was first introduced to her, and her Machine, I was blown away. My initial reaction was to tweet that I’d just seen the offspring of Siouxsie Sioux, Bjork and Kate Bush up on stage. Her voice was primal – it deserved […]

GSH and MLK

GSH and MLK

Today we remember Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a freethinker of the highest order. He was someone for whom freedom became a life’s work. He changed the world. In 1963 he had a dream. Thank you Gil Scott-Heron. Thank you Stevie Wonder. Thank you for making sure that we will always remember. Thank you […]

The folk-tinged drone of Hi-Fiction Science

The folk-tinged drone of Hi-Fiction Science

Think of music from Bristol, and I dare you – I double dare you – to not think of Massive Attack. I certainly can’t help it. The reaction is totally involuntary – the place and the band being as deeply connected in my mind as Radiohead to Oxford, The Boss with New Jersey, and, er, […]

James Blake + Latitude = me properly chuffed

James Blake + Latitude = me properly chuffed

Now, don’t take the piss. It may not be Glastonbury, Bestival, Reading/Leeds – or even the V Festival – but I am looking forward to Latitude with all the anticipation of an alcoholic waiting for the shutters to be raised outside the Crown & Cushion. Call me old fashioned, but the relative tranquillity and calm […]

movement 4: James Poole, May 2011

movement 4: James Poole, May 2011

For the first movement of 2011, I thought I’d throw together a proper freethinking mix. As ever, it’s raw, with no edits, and as a result you’re getting an idea as to what freethinking nyc is all about. It’s not perfect, it’s not polished – it’s a celebration of some top new music, as well […]

James Brown: there was (is) none better

James Brown: there was (is) none better

Wow. Seriously. James Brown is an artist at the very heart of the freethinking movement. On any given freethinking nyc night, you’ll be guaranteed to hear him, and there’s a fighting chance that you’ll also hear Fred Wesley, Bobby Byrd and Maceo Parker. James Brown changed music. I never saw James Brown play live. The […]