Today I was sadly awoken to the news that singer, writer, poet and now legend Gil Scott Heron had passed away in New York overnight, just over a year since his I'm New Here release, influential to a whole new generation of listeners.
Scott Heron, a man who only three years before had been doing time in prison for possession of crack cocaine had been known for a problematic lifestyle but it was the music for which he was loved. Scott Heron's poignantly aged voice of I'm New Here is of stark contrast to the spritely croons of his 1976 soul collaboration with Brian Jackson, It's Your World (a record I'm proud to say I own).
35 years after that collaboration it's evident to see that years of excess, misfortune and abuse has the ability to jade talented soul-jazz artists into a grizzled blues performers. A 1976 Gil Scott sings of New York, I don't know why I love you, maybe it's because you are mine to a 2010 Gil Scott on New York Is Killing Me, eight million people, and I didn't have a single friend.
Gil Scott Heron impacted me and my music so its' with great sadness to see him go. RIP Gilbert Scott Heron 1949 - 2011.