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John Lewis

John Lewis

John Lewis has written about music and the arts since the mid-'90s. He wrote for Time Out London between 1998-2007, where he ended up editing the music section, and has since written for Uncut, The Guardian, Metro, The Times, The Independent on Sunday, the Financial Times, The Scotsman, Sight & Sound, the Illustrated London News, Glastonbury Free Press, Time Out New York and ThePoke.com. He co-edited 1000 Songs To Hear Before You Die, co-wrote The Bluffer's Guide To Jazz and has put together dozens of compilation albums for labels, including EMI, Outcaste and Nascente. He is married and lives in east London with two children and two cats. When not writing about music, he edits books on cars, civil engineering and political history for a publishing house, plays the piano for weddings and private parties, and cooks a mean vegetable biryani.

 

 

ats. When not writing about music, he edits books on cars, civil engineering and political history for a publishing house, plays the piano for weddings and private parties, and cooks a mean vegetable biryani.

John Lewis online

86 articles

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Barry Adamson & Russell Maliphant Company: Barbican, London

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Barbican show programme, 8 April 2004

Featuring Barry Adamson Band and the BBC Concert Orchestra Russell Maliphant Company – Anna Williams, Marie Goudot, Flora Bourderon, Michael Pomero and Miquel de ...

Damon Albarn: Honest Jon's: Shellac shock

Report and Interview by John Lewis, Financial Times, 28 April 2008

Damon Albarn's label Honest Jon's has discovered the world on their doorstep in the form of the EMI Archive. ...

Rashied Ali Quintet: Pizza on the Park

Review and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, July 2007

IT'S EXACTLY 40 years since the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane died, enough time for the cult surrounding him to take upon religious proportions. ...

Lily Allen, Billy Bragg, Elton John: Britain in song

Essay by John Lewis, Do Not Disturb, Summer 2011

How do the British address their cities in song? With bathos, pathos and a large helping of silliness, says John Lewis ...

Amadou and Mariam: Amadou & Mariam: Afro Vision

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, February 2009

Amadou and Mariam, the blind couple of Mali, talk to John Lewis about Led Zeppelin, Damon Albarn and feeling shy. ...

Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet: Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet: Landfall – Scenes from my New Novel

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Barbican show programme, 28 June 2013

IN MANY WAYS, Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet come from very different worlds, and not just because they're based on different sides of the ...

Fiona Apple Q&A

Interview by John Lewis, Time Out, 4 April 2006

FIONA APPLE was born in New York in 1977. She has since recorded with Johnny Cash, dated Paul Thomas Anderson and David Blaine, been a ...

Arctic Monkeys: Alex Turner: "Tupac's 'California Love' is my karaoke tune of choice"

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 6 June 2011

Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner talks to Metro about how living in the US made the band's new album Suck It and See sound more ...

A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5, N.W.A., RZA, Wu-Tang Clan: With Wu-Tang Clan and Jurassic 5 touring, why are we hooked on nineties hip hop?

Report and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 7 June 2013

Hip hop heads often get misty-eyed about the 'golden age' of hip hop. But when was it? The formative years of Grandmaster Flash and Sugarhill ...

Albert Ayler: My Name Is Albert Ayler (dir. Kasper Collin)

Film/DVD/TV Review by John Lewis, Sight & Sound, November 2007

Synopsis Feature-length documentary about the African-American saxophonist Albert Ayler (1936–1970), told through archive footage and new interviews with friends, family and musicians, including his brother and ...

Carl Barât, The Libertines: Carl Barât: from Libertine to theatre actor

Interview by John Lewis, The Times, 18 January 2010

Pete Doherty's old sparring partner is turning his hand to acting in Sam Shepard's Fool for Love. ...

Beyoncé

Profile by John Lewis, Populous, May 2014

IF YOU WANT an embodiment of the contradictions that seem to define Beyoncé Knowles, just listen to her 2008 anthem 'Single Ladies'. Sonically, it's one ...

David Bowie, The Comet Is Coming, Robert Glasper, GoGo Penguin, Shabaka Hutchings, Kendrick Lamar, Donny McCaslin, Courtney Pine, Sons of Kemet, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington: The new cool: how Kamasi, Kendrick and co gave jazz a new groove

Essay by John Lewis, The Guardian, 6 October 2016

A generation of jazz musicians has grown up with hip-hop in its blood. The result is the thrilling reinvention of a genre that has been ...

Kate Bush's Before The Dawn: Eventim Apollo, London

Live Review by John Lewis, Metro, 28 August 2014

IT WAS A comeback that had been hyped up for months. ...

The Cinematic Orchestra: Barbican, London

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Barbican show programme, 8 March 2003

Programme notes for Barbican Hall performance of The Man With The Movie Camera Part of the Only Connect festival, curated by Alex Poots ...

Jarvis Cocker: A Bit of Rough

Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, November 2008

Jarvis Cocker could tell you all about glaciers but instead this month he's choosing to celebrate one of Britain's finest independent record labels. John Lewis ...

Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

Film/DVD/TV Review by John Lewis, Sight & Sound, January 2007

Synopsis: Documentary about the Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, artist and novelist Leonard Cohen, based around a lengthy interview with him, punctuated by tributes from assorted ...

Ornette Coleman: Barbican, London

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Barbican show programme, 2 May 2005

Programme notes for Barbican Hall performance of Ornette Coleman — Alto sax Denardo Coleman — Drums Greg Cohen — Bass Tony Falanga — Bass ...

Ornette Coleman, The Roots: The Roots with Ornette Coleman: Royal Festival Hall, London

Live Review by John Lewis, The Guardian, 17 June 2009

IT SEEMS fitting that Philadelphia hip-hoppers the Roots should help kick off Ornette Coleman's Meltdown festival. ...

P. Diddy, Snoop (Doggy) Dogg: P. Diddy and Snoop Dogg at Wembley: A Preview

Report by John Lewis, So London, March 2007

RATHER LIKE the Iran-Iraq war, or the Schleswig-Holstein Question, no one can quite remember the origins of the 1990s "rap wars". It was a rivalry ...

Disclosure: Settle

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 31 May 2013

IF SURREY DJ outfit Disclosure illustrate anything, it's the endlessly cyclical nature of dance music. ...

Dizzee Rascal: Dizzee heights

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, October 2009

He's gone from grime-star chancer to award-winning chart topper. Now, with his fourth album, Dizzee Rascal is about to go stratospheric. John Lewis braces for ...

Siobhan Donaghy: Sugababe for Rent: Siobhan Donaghy

Report and Interview by John Lewis, The Times, 13 October 2007

She might have a starring role in a big West End production of Rent, but ex-Sugababe Siobhan Donaghy is a bit worried about her parents ...

Eels: Wonderful, Glorious

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 1 February 2013

THE TENTH ALBUM from Eels shows that, while they may have fallen out of the limelight, their music is as sharp as ever. ...

Elbow: Q&A: Guy Garvey

Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, March 2009

John Lewis asks the Mercury-winning Elbow main-man and BBC 6Music broadcaster about winklepickers, Nat King Cole and cheese on toast. ...

Duke Ellington, Sun Ra: The secret history of the jazz greats who were freemasons

Essay by John Lewis, The Guardian, 2 July 2014

Jazz and freemasonry are unlikely bedfellows, but in the 1950s, the secret society became a support network for musicians and the world's largest fraternity for ...

Everything Everything: Arc

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 11 January 2013

EVERYTHING EVERYTHING follow up their 2010 Mercury nominated debut Man Alive with Arc – and the results are both pleasingly complex and maddeningly simple. ...

Paloma Faith: Beautiful lies

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, May 2010

Paloma Faith talks to John Lewis about art, artifice, sadism and feminism. ...

Feist: Metals

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 30 September 2011

Feist's direct, simple and appealingly childlike melodies shine throughout latest album. ...

Foals' Yannis Philippakis: Getting on his highbrow horse

Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 14 December 2012

There's a lot going on in the mind of Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis – Metro finds out more. ...

Frightened Rabbit: "We were never cold enough to be art school"

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 7 February 2013

Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison talks about swearing, not being an art school band and their new album Pedestrian Verse. ...

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 14 October 2011

IT MUST HAVE been a relief for Noel Gallagher when Oasis finally split up. Finally, the bestselling British songwriter of the past quarter century was ...

The Gaslamp Killer: A bright spark hits the decks

Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 18 October 2010

Kooky DJ the Gaslamp Killer, known for his psychedelic sounds, talks to Metro about his experimental style, which includes work by Italian composers and dirty ...

Philip Glass' Satyagraha at the ENO

Report and Interview by John Lewis, The Times, March 2007

A MAN DRESSED as Gandhi, in a loin-cloth and Alf Garnett specs, is curled up on the floor as twenty men brandish chairs and throw ...

Glasvegas: Viva Glasvegas

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, December 2008

They've been charged with representing the voice of a generation. John Lewis talks to Glasvegas frontman James Allan about accents, Elvis and Christmas albums. ...

Mahmoud Guinia, James Holden: Moroccan gnawa: "It's a healing sound"

Interview by John Lewis, Uncut, August 2018

Why Moroccan gnawa music continues to seduce Western artists, from Hendrix to Holden ...

Hayseed Dixie: Meet… John Wheeler

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, January 2009

John Lewis talks to the Hayseed Dixie frontman turned solo comedy troubadour ...

The Human League: Make A Date: Phil Oakey and the Human League

Interview by John Lewis, Metro, November 2010

NEARLY THIRTY years ago, as the Human League were about to become the biggest band on earth, we had a recession, a Tory government enacting ...

Ice Cube: Make A Date: Ice Cube

Interview by John Lewis, Metro, June 2008

THERE WAS ONCE a time when Ice Cube was actually considered a threat to civic order. Police would bust NWA shows. Op-ed columns in U.S. ...

Yvette Janine Jackson: Freedom (Fridman Gallery)

Review by John Lewis, The Guardian, 15 January 2021

The composer’s two new works, exploring slavery and homophobia, are like immersive non-visual films ...

Sharon Jones: Make A Date: Sharon Jones

Report and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 1 March 2012

Sharon Jones of the Dap Kings is enjoying the life of the late-flowering soul diva. ...

Jónsi

Report and Interview by John Lewis, German Wings, October 2010

ICELAND MAY be bankrupt, its population might be fleeing the country and its volcanoes bringing the world to a standstill. But they can still produce ...

Jónsi: Q&A: Jónsi

Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, May 2010

The lead singer of Sigur Ros, Jón "Jónsi" Þór Birgisson talks to John Lewis about David Attenborough, Bing Crosby and getting shitfaced in advance of ...

Kaiser Chiefs: Hail to the Chiefs

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, October 2008

With their third album about to hit stores, the Kaiser Chiefs tell John Lewis about their dancefloor-filling new sound. ...

Kid Koala: "I always wanted to work on The Muppet Show"

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 16 September 2011

Musician, cartoonist, graphic novelist, DJ, primary school teacher… Metro meets the many sides of Canadian polymath Kid Koala. ...

Soweto Kinch: Absolute Beginners: Lyric Theatre, London

Report and Interview by John Lewis, The Times, July 2007

COLIN MACINNES'S 1959 novel Absolute Beginners remains a landmark in post-colonial literature, a brash, idealistic voyage through the Notting Hill race riots, seedy jazz dives, ...

The Klaxons: Klaxons: "We've never been ashamed of the fact we are a pop band"

Report and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 15 August 2010

South London nu-rave champions the Klaxons tell Metro the truth about their psychedelic project and the follow-up to their Mercury Prize-winning album. ...

Ladyhawke: Lady's night

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, May 2009

Synth-pop queen Ladyhawke, aka New Zealander Pip Brown, talks to John Lewis from the back seat of a New York taxi. ...

Lady Sovereign: Sov Story

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, June 2009

John Lewis talks to Wembley's grime-pop diva Lady Sovereign about that "difficult" second album. ...

Lil' Kim: The hip hop star is a little big woman in a man's world

Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 11 July 2013

"I'M A GIRLY GIRL," says Lil Kim. "I'm strong but I'm very timid. Very dainty." This, of course, is the same Lil Kim who wrote ...

Jennifer Lopez: Superstar of the Caspian

Report and Interview by John Lewis, Baku, Winter 2012

Jennifer Lopez brought her spectacular show to Baku recently and talked to Baku in her trailer afterwards about glitz, glamour and hype. ...

The Magic Numbers

Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, August 2010

After a three-year hiatus, brother/sister quartet The Magic Numbers are back with their best album yet. John Lewis talks to them about Trinidad, Nigeria, Willesden ...

Wynton Marsalis: Shock of the New

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, The Guardian, 2 March 2007

Wynton Marsalis almost explodes with rage when he talks about hip-hop. So why has the jazz stalwart recorded a track on which he breaks into ...

Metronomy: A Nice Walk With A Pop Star

Report and Interview by John Lewis, Do Not Disturb, Spring 2012

JOSEPH MOUNT IS discussing the title of his latest album, The English Riviera. "People abroad are a bit puzzled by England having a Riviera," he ...

Muse's Matt Bellamy: "It's only now I feel comfortable singing about love"

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 21 September 2012

Muse frontman Matt Bellamy talks about the band's new album The 2nd Law, singing about love and relationships and how his beliefs about 9/11 have ...

Me'Shell Ndegeocello: Meshell Ndegeocello

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, June 2010

Meshell Ndegeocello talks to John Lewis about the Rolling Stones, the Devil and Christopher Hitchens. ...

Sinead O'Connor: How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Barbican show programme, March 2013

"WHEN I'M AN old lady, I promise you I'll write my memoirs," Sinead O'Connor tells me. They promise to be quite a tale, because it's ...

Orbital: Rave Review

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, September 2009

Rave pioneers Orbital were the surprise hit of this summer's festivals. They tell John Lewis about finding fresh inspiration. ...

Gilbert O'Sullivan: "The equal of any songwriter"

Retrospective and Interview by John Lewis, Financial Times, 28 September 2007

WORLD-WEARY songs about death. Waggish wordplay. A scruffy urchin persona. When Morrissey performed Gilbert O'Sullivan's 1970 hit 'Nothing Rhymed' at a gig in Dublin last ...

Lee "Scratch" Perry: Madman or Genius?

Interview by John Lewis, Time Out, June 2002

As the Jamaican dub pioneer curates his Meltdown Festival at the South Bank, John Lewis travelled to deepest Switzerland to ask him about Prince Charles, ...

Madeleine Peyroux: Hammersmith Apollo

Live Review by John Lewis, London Lite, 17 April 2007

ONE GETS THE impression that folksy jazz warbler Madeleine Peyroux would make a great punk icon. Like Pete Doherty, she enjoys heroically sabotaging her career ...

Iggy Pop, The Stooges: Iggy and the Stooges: Ready To Die

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 26 April 2013

ONE MIGHT mock Iggy Pop for advertising car insurance, but the truth is that being a rock legend doesn't come with a guaranteed stipend: his ...

The Rolling Stones: Martin Scorsese: Shine A Light

Film/DVD/TV Review by John Lewis, Sight & Sound, April 2008

A live film of a Rolling Stones concert, recorded at the Beacon Theater in New York over the course of two nights (October 29 and ...

The Roots: How I Got Over (Mercury/Def Jam)

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 27 June 2010

PHILADELPHIA'S ROOTS aren't really like any other hip hop acts. They're a proper live band, for starters (you might have seen them guesting as the ...

Rumer: Boys Don't Cry (Atlantic)

Review by John Lewis, Metro, May 2012

SOME PEOPLE believe that pop music is about rebellion, about kicking over statues and sticking two fingers up to the oldies. They will not like ...

RZA, Wu-Tang Clan: Wu-Tang Clan: Putting the record straight

Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 10 December 2007

The hunger has returned: Wu-Tang Clan, with group leader RZA are back and ready to rule the hip hop world again with new album 8 ...

Salt-N-Pepa

Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, August 2010

IT'S BEEN 25 years since the rappers we know and love as Salt-N-Pepa burst into our consciousness. They are now forty-something women, living in suburban ...

Gil Scott-Heron

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, April 2010

GIL SCOTT-HERON has long been a regular and popular visitor to the UK's jazz and soul venues. However, by the late 1990s, he'd become an ...

Jill Scott: "My new album was almost completely improvised in the studio"

Report and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 26 June 2011

Jill Scott talks to Metro about playing Precious Ramotswe in The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency and how she improvised her latest album, The Light of ...

Ed Sheeran: +

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 11 September 2011

SINGER/SONGWRITER Ed Sheeran is a 20-year-old Prince Harry lookalike from Suffolk who somehow straddles the worlds of folksy MOR and hip hop. ...

Wayne Shorter: Barbican, London

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Time Out, 29 March 2003

Featuring Wayne Shorter — tenor and soprano saxes Danilo Perez — piano John Patitucci — double bass Brian Blade — drums ...

Sigur Ros & Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson: Odin's Raven Magic

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Barbican show programme, 21 April 2002

• Sigur Ros, Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson and Steindor Andersen with the London Sinfonietta and members of The Sixteen Choir • Music composed by Sigur Ros and ...

Sigur Ros: Valtari (Parlophone)

Review by John Lewis, Metro, May 2012

WHEN LEAD singer Jónsi Birgisson apologised that Sigur Rós's recent albums had been "too joyous, too festive", he must have momentarily convinced himself that he ...

Sam Smith's James Bond Theme

Comment by John Lewis, Metro, 7 October 2015

How to write a great Bond theme, and why Sam Smith hasn’t managed it. ...

Candi Staton: She's got the love

Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, February 2009

The country-soul queen, disco diva and gospel howler talks to John Lewis about Sam Cooke, Dolly Parton and Bonnie "Prince" Billy. ...

Stan Tracey: Make A Date: Stan Tracey

Retrospective and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, January 2008

"DOES ANYONE here realise how good this guy is?" remarked the legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins during a lengthy session at Ronnie Scott's nightclub in the ...

KT Tunstall: A nice walk with a rock star — KT Tunstall

Interview by John Lewis, Do Not Disturb, Spring 2011

NOWADAYS, SINGER-SONGWRITER KT Tunstall spends a lot of time in and out of hotel rooms, touring every continent on earth. She's one of the UK's ...

The Unthanks: Folk is the new punk

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, October 2009

The Unthanks have made fans of people who never thought they'd like folk. The secret of their success? Raw authenticity. John Lewis tells how folk ...

Laura Veirs: Mixed-Up Confusion

Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, January 2010

Laura Viers came to folk via punk, is geeky yet cool, young but experienced and both delicate and tough. John Lewis meets her. ...

Kamasi Washington: Heaven and Earth (Young Turks)

Review by John Lewis, Metro, 18 June 2018

THROUGH HIS links with Kendrick Lamar and other hip hop and R&B artists, tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington has moved from niche L.A. jazz musician into ...

Paul Weller on the 100 Club

Interview by John Lewis, Metro, July 2012

Paul Weller has a long relationship with the 100 Club – not just as a performer but as a teenage punter. ...

Paul Weller: Q&A: Paul Weller

Interview by John Lewis, Hotline, November 2008

50 this year and touring his best album in decades, the Modfather talks to John Lewis about Algerian passions, drunken binges and a wariness of ...

Wild Beasts: Masculinity is so unnatural

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 21 February 2014

"MACHISMO IS basically a drag act," says Wild Beasts' frontman Tom Fleming. "There's a gross swagger that usually accompanies masculinity, and that's something that's learned ...

Cassandra Wilson: Cassanda Wilson: Breathing new life into sound

Profile and Interview by John Lewis, Metro, 22 November 2010

Jazz great Cassandra Wilson tells Metro how British history has left its mark on the genre and how she has followed its ley lines. ...

Cassandra Wilson

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Programme notes for gig at Barbican Hall, 13 July 2003

CASSANDRA WILSON's voice can startle you the first time you hear it. It's down, deep and bassy, almost androgynous, with a hint of menace that ...

John Zorn: Zorn@60: John Zorn and guests including Mike Patton and Marc Ribot

Sleeve and programme notes by John Lewis, Barbican show programme, 12 July 2013

FOR THOSE OF US who've grown up listening to his music, it seems remarkable that John Zorn is celebrating his 60th birthday. ...

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