|Courtesy of Gary Price/St. Martin's Press|
|Musical visionary Gil Scott-Heron (right) and friend/collaborator Brian Jackson hanging out in the early '70s.|
Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man
By Marcus Baram
St. Martin's Press
Like pretty much every other musical genre, rap and hip-hop have many musical "fathers," with various groups and individuals claiming full (or partial) paternity. DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Melle Mel, Afrika Bambaataa, and the Sugar Hill Gang are often listed on the birth certificate.
But others point to Gil Scott-Heron as the Baby Daddy, as the R&B/soul/jazz vocalist, spoken-word poet, journalist and novelist's albums of the '70s featured a lot of sonic themes and rhythms that would find their way into rap and hip-hop. Along with decidedly familiar themes and lyrics of black empowerment, disenfranchisement and culture.
Pieces of a Man tells the roller-coaster life and music journey of a fresh-voiced musical pioneer and cultural soldier who made a huge impact with his early work. Only then to fritter away much of the last few decades of his life in the grip of cocaine and crack addiction, erratic behavior and concert no-shows before dying in 2011 at the age of 62.More »