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James Poole reflection

Radio 2 Listeners: I’m revoking your license to have an opinion

Now this is a tough one. The spirit of the freethinking movement is to encourage conversation about music, to encourage opening your mind to new sounds. To encourage an opinion. The problem is, sometimes the opinion seems so totally at odds with ‘what’s right’ that I have to hold my hand up. Here goes… Over […]

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James Poole reflection

The Return of The Man Who Fell To Earth

Welcome back, Dave. In a year with some pretty great releases in the first quarter alone, it’s perhaps to be expected that the lead singer out of Tin Machine would more than hold his own. Let’s strip back, past the hullaballoo (I’ve never used that word before, but it feels completely justified), past the column […]

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events freethinking bklyn James Poole

freethinking bklyn 130314

Picture the scene: I’ve only recently moved to a new neighbourhood. There’s been a huge change in my family life – all for the better. My knowledge of the area is really only that of an infrequent interloper, ‘trekking’ from Manhattan to a Brooklyn ‘hood. Discovering new places requires legwork – and I’m not shy […]

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James Poole recommendations

A slice of 90s orchestral pop

How did this pass me by? It’s 2013, and here I am, about to write about a tune which was released in 1995. But, thanks to you lot, I never even knew about this until last year. Thanks a bunch. As I sat down in January to compile my list of top albums for 2012, […]

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defining freethinking James Poole reflection

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 […]

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defining freethinking James Poole recommendations

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 […]

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defining freethinking James Poole

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 […]

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James Poole recommendations

2012: Top ten albums

Let’s get this out of the way: the best music from 2012 came not from new blood, but from established artists. Fine, there are some exceptions, but as a general rule, last year some comparatively old dogs absolutely nailed it. *braces self for onslaught of not-so-constructive feedback* As ever, picking ten albums is really tough. […]

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defining freethinking James Poole reflection

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 […]

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James Poole recommendations

Janice Graham Band: All hail the new Specials.

I’m a long-time aficionado of Acid Jazz Records. Birthplace of Galliano and Jamiroquai, home to The Brand New Heavies during their career-peak, and the arbiters of taste behind the Totally Wired series – Acid Jazz was more than a label during the early 90s. It was a movement. I was a fully signed-up fan. During […]

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James Poole recommendations

Expensive Northern Soul

Feeling down? Here’s a musical cure. I’m not sure if I buy the story about this being The Most Expensive ‘45 Of All Time – but I do buy that it’s a slab of bang-on northern soul. And, if your day is tinged with even a hint of something not going in your favour, slap […]

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James Poole reflection

Latitude: the seventh edition

OK, I’ll come clean. While the summer has been more than a little hectic, I did manage to squeeze in Latitude. All very last minute, all very opportunistic. Despite the trenchfoot-friendly conditions, I’m chuffed to have made it. A festival with headliners including Weller and Elbow? Count me the hell in. Latitude is becoming firmly […]