Soul Funk Jazz Hero Gil Scott-Heron Dies at 62 in New York City

We are sad to report that uber-influential poet, singer and performer Gil Scott-Heron died yesterday, May 27, 2011, in New York City.   He was best known for his uplifting, political, jazz-tinged poetics like The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and also the incredible Pieces of a Man and damned near perfect Winter In America album with Brian Jackson.  The latter album spawned the soulful In The Bottle.

When I grew up, my mother literally played that album every morning.  I woke up hearing Peace Go With You Brother EVERY MORNING.  Literally.  I thank my mom for this early introduction to this deeply soulful music that would shape my world view.  I was fortunate enough to meet Gil in the early 90’s at one of his gigs in Oakland, California.  We went backstage and he signed the very album that my mom used to play.  I had kept that album with me for good luck and now I was able to meet its maker.  Gil did a drop for my radio show at the time and was extremely gracious. I am proud to have met him.

Listening to his music, you can feel the depth, the soul and breadth of his experience.   In his music, you can feel the pain, the joy, and the redemption Gil seems to have been seeking.  The saddest part of Gil’s passing to me is that he ultimately succumbed to the very ills he warned us about.    Very sad indeed.  At least we are left with his life’s work.

Rest in Peace Brother Gil.  Peace go with you brother.

Ron Worthy

For those of you who aren’t as familiar, we have compiled a very short list of songs that are essential listening:

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised


The Bottle

Angel Dust


Peace Go With You Brother


Winter In America


Your Daddy Loves You


Rivers of My Fathers


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