Saturday, May 28, 2011
Thoughts on Gil Scott-Heron...
The wound of his passing is too raw and fresh at this point, and the salient facts of his life will be better told in other places, (NPR for instance), but I need to take a minute to spin some thoughts on the late Gil Scott-Heron.
If you're new to the party, you might start with this great show from NYC's Bottom Line in '77, (courtesy of the always reliable Aquarium Drunkard blog). Make a date with YouTube, and you can get up to speed very quickly.
In short, he was our beacon in that time before hip hop, if one can imagine such a thing, and when it turned out that hip hop might not necessarily be keeping all of its promises, he found a second wind, and came back again to remind us of what was important.
As seems to always be the case, as soon as he was back in business, Life made other plans for him.
'I'm New Here', (XL Recordings from 2010), was only 30 minutes long, but fraught with the detail of a life lived hard, and was a deeper biography in that short time than the many hundred pages tomes that clog the shelves today.
The voice aged from smooth and supple to cracked but still authoritative, and most nights the skies are cloudy, but every now and then the clouds will part, and I'll see that particular star, the one that makes the vastness feel a little less lonely...
GIL SCOTT-HERON (1949-2011)