Listener's Notes - Gil Scott-Heron

We mark the passing today of the great Gil Scott-Heron, songerwriter-poet who gave us so many great sounds and words, the biggest of which has been "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," the most recognized version of which appeared on the B-side of the 1971 single, "Home is Where the Hatred Is."  You could check out the original recording on Small Talk at 125th & Lenox.  I'll leave the comments on Scott-Heron's career to others -- The Nation and UK Guardian have something, and you might also check out a piece last year from The New Yorker.  Imagine that.

I can tell you that in the past few years, in a course I teach in American Studies, when I reach the point in my popular music sequence and introduce the roots of hip-hop -- complete with music blasting out of speakers -- I always make sure that the students listen to the whole of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."  I always get a few cringes over the course of the year at different points from the young people.  They like Louis Armstrong, but Charlie Parker is a little to fast for them.  The like Muddy Waters, but Bessie Smith is a little too strong.  They like Buck Owens, but Hank Williams, Sr. is a little too dark.

When I start up "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," the students get it, right from the first note.  They lock in on the groove, they laugh, they admire the flow of the words.  They get it: attitude, and all.  it's Marvin Gaye meets the Last Poets -- and yes, my students get both of those references.  Light a candle, say a prayer, write a poem.  May the Godfather of Rap be at peace.  His sound lives on.

PN Feedburner | PN iTunes | PN Twitter | PN Facebook | PN Video | PN Goodreads | PN Tumblr


Playlist – Jazz Café, 5/22

Song, Artist, Album

Sweet Georgia Brown, Monty Alexander, Uplift

The (One of a Kind) Shimmy, Either/Orchestra, Mood Music for Time Travellers

The Dancing Monk, Eric Reed, The Dancing Monk

An Oscar for Treadwell, Ferit Odman, Nommo

My Love and I, Charlie Hayden Quartet West, Sophisticated Ladies

Infatuation, Matt Nelson Trio, Nostalgiamaniac

Lush Life, Terell Stafford, This Side of Strayhorn

Daleks, Niccolo Farac, Toyko 2674

It's Not Polite To Point, George Goodwin's Big Phat Band, That's How We Roll

Swing Thing, Georg Cocron, Eclectic Electric Guitar

Samba D'Blue, Mulgrew Miller and Wingspan, The Sequel

Get Out of Town, Nnenna Freelon, Homefree

See You At the Fair, Ben Webster, See You At the Fair

Hoe-Down, Oliver Nelson, The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Night and Day, Stephane Grappelli, So Easy to Remember

Birks' Works, Dizzy Gillespie, Jazz Masters 10

Freddie Freeloader, Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

Oh What A Beautiful Morning, Ray Charles & Count Basie Orchestra, Ray Sings Basie Swings

Detour Ahead, Bill Evans Trio, Waltz for Debby

PN Feedburner | PN iTunes | PN Twitter | PN Facebook | PN Video | PN Goodreads | PN Tumblr