TIR 18: Brian Jackson Tells How He and Gil Scott-Heron Put the Message in the Music


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on the One: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in this 3-part series: Composer-keyboardist-flutist Brian Jackson, best known for his decade of groundbreaking work with the legendary sociopolitical composer, poet and singer Gil Scott-Heron (died 2011) during his prime 1970s period. Jackson’s on-point, jazz-informed work on piano, Fender Rhodes and other keyboards set a strong foundation for his partner’s heartfelt vocals and hard-hitting, incisive and sometimes controversial lyrics. The result of this very special pairing, which bridged the musical genres of soul, jazz and funk, among other influences, produced one of popular music’s most important bodies of work.

Further, by using a sing-song style to share words and stories that unflinchingly spotlighted the harsh realities of America’s inner-cities combined with irresistible jazz-funk grooves, the innovative duo set the stage for the rap and hip hop that would follow — often being featured and sampled within that genre. Among the pair’s classic tracks were “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” “The Bottle,” “Winter in America,” “Johannesburg,” “Hello Sunday, Hello Road,” “Racetrack in France,” “Angel Dust,” “Shut ‘Um Down,” “1980” and so many others.

In this series, Jackson talks about how he began his musical journey; his musical heroes, influences and other important figures; when he first met Gil Scott-Heron and what their formative years were like; the classic songs, albums and sessions; the tours and experiences with other notable artists; record label friction and internal tension that led to the duo’s split; Jackson’s subsequent production and session work with other acts; his later encounters with Scott-Heron and his passing; and finally what Jackson is up to today.

Recorded August 2017


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