Free Radicals is an American jazz, funk, hip-hop, avant-garde, ska, reggae, African music, Indian music, punk, klezmer, polka and latin jazz group based in Houston, Texas.
Free Radicals' live band includes six or seven members. On recordings--The Rising Tide Sinks All (1998), Our Lady of Eternal Sunny Delights (2000), Aerial Bombardment (2004), and The Freedom Fence (2012)--Free Radicals invites a group of 50 or more musicians and vocalists into the studio.
Drummer Nick Cooper founded the group in 1996, with a goal of specializing in improvised music. In 2000, The New Yorker wrote "The horn-heavy, continually evolving collective Free Radicals produces a wildly eclectic fusion that has as many influences as there are items in the Houston, Texas, pawnshop in which they honed their sound during all-night jam sessions." In 2010, Dawn (newspaper) wrote that the artwork and message about underwater oil-leaks, oil-wars, and bank-crashes on the band's first CD was like a "premonition waiting to become true."
Free Radicals performs many concerts, marches and fund-raisers for anti-authoritarian and radical groups like food not bombs, peace festivals, and charities events including a continuous 24-hour concert in November 1999 to raise money for Kid Care, a health program for children. They have protested against Halliburton, and participated in marches for immigrants' rights and for a Houston janitor's union.
Free Radicals has won the following 18 Houston Press awards:
2013: Best Jazz ,
2012: Best CD, Best Song, Best Jazz ,
2011: Best Jazz,
2010: Best Jazz,
2009: Best Jazz, Best Drummer,
2008: Best Jazz,
2004: Best CD by Local Musicians,
2003: Best Jazz,
2002: Best Jazz,
2001: Best Jazz,
1999: Best Jazz, Best Funk, Best Drummer,
1998: Best Jazz, Best Unsigned Band