Gilbert "Gil" Scott-Heron was an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and '80s. His collaborative efforts with musician Brian Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. His own term for himself was "bluesologist", which he defined as "a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues." His music, most notably on Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul.
The three albums (3-CD set) that Gil Scott-Heron recorded for Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman label are among the most important in black music history. They showed a multi-talented artist coming to full fruition with his first efforts on wax. The Revolution Begins contains every piece of music he released for the label from 1970-1971. In recent years Gil has become a lauded as one of the all-time greats. This music is the reason why. It includes classic performances, including both the spoken word and band versions of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Home Is Where The Hatred Is, Lady Day and John Coltrane, Pieces Of A Man, Whitey On The Moon and Free Will.
A previously unreleased live set recorded at London’s legendary Town and Country club and available for the first time on this two CD set. By the late 80s years of substance abuse had left Gil Scott-Heron rotten-toothed and out of it a lot of the time. In 1987 he missed a gig at London's Town & Country Club completely, turning up long after the venue had shut. The T&CC stuck with him though, booking him again in 1988 and hoping for the best. By then he'd gained a new manager, Freddie Cousaert, who had been responsible for turning the career of Marvin Gaye round in the early 80s, getting him off cocaine and back into the studio.
Gil Scott-Heron's 1971 album Pieces of a Man set a standard for vocal artistry and political awareness that few musicians will ever match. His unique proto-rap vocal style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists, and nowhere is his style more powerful than on the classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Even though the media – the very entity attacked in this song – has used, reused, and recontextualized the song and its title so many times, the message is so strong that it has become almost impossible to co-opt. Musically, the track created a formula that modern hip-hop would follow for years to come: bare-bones arrangements featuring pounding basslines and stripped-down drumbeats. Although the song features plenty of outdated references to everything from Spiro Agnew and Jim Webb to The Beverly Hillbillies, the force of Scott-Heron's well-directed anger makes the song timeless. More than just a spoken word poet, Scott-Heron was also a uniquely gifted vocalist.
This Gil Scott-Heron double album, roughly two thirds of which was recorded live in Boston on July 2-4, 1976, makes the most of its Centennial-centric time frame. Between the American flag striped cover art and Heron's spoken word spiel on an 8-and-a-half minute poem/rant "Bicentennial Blues," the album loses little of its impact, regardless of how the years have mildewed once fresh political topics like Nixon, Agnew, and Watergate. Four of its songs are studio recordings …
This performance from 2001 at the New Morning in Paris showcases one of the greatest singers in the soul tradition, Gil Scott-Heron. Inspired by writer Langston Hughes, one of the driving forces behind the Afro-centrism of the sixties, Scott-Heron put his first texts to music. He tried his hand at the keyboard in rock groups and published "The Nigger Factory". His music and lyrics, part poetic, part political, which denounce the repressive violence exerted on African-Americans by society in the US, soon made him the cult hero of the radical rap and hip-hop musicians throughout the world. This DVD is a fine example of the rebellious storyteller's ability.
The poet, vocalist, and songwriter Gil Scott-Heron is both the descendant of the African griots and the forefather of rap. In the early '70s, he boldly proclaimed that "the revolution will not be televised," and in the '80s he warned us of the "New World Order" with his prophetic and satirical single, "B Movie." The gifted filmmaker Robert Mugge filmed the controversial artist in performance at the now-defunct Wax Museum in Washington, D.C., in 1982. Mugge alternates between the electrifying soul/jazz/funk grooves of Scott- Heron's Midnight Band and his witty and deep monologues about racial politics with a wax figure of Uncle Sam and his dead-on commentaries on urban life in the nation's capital.
In 1990, a retrospective double album was released entitled 'Tales Of Gil Scott-Heron And His Amnesia Express'. Gil Scott Heron: Tales Of Gil is a good concert of Jazz influenced blues music, and is well worth grabbing for die-hard fans (although be aware that it does not contain The Revolution Will Not Be Televised). Others may wish to be wary approaching this disc, given its bluesy nature (there is little resembling rap here).
This Gil Scott-Heron double album, roughly two thirds of which was recorded live in Boston on July 2-4, 1976, makes the most of its Centennial-centric time frame. Between the American flag striped cover art and Heron's spoken word spiel on an 8-and-a-half minute poem/rant "Bicentennial Blues," the album loses little of its impact, regardless of how the years have mildewed once fresh political topics like Nixon, Agnew, and Watergate.