Gil Scott-Heron was born in Chicago on April 1st 1949. He attended Lincoln and John Hopkins University. He wrote two novels. The Vulture and The Nigger Factory. He met Brian Jackson, his frequent collaborator. Gil Scott-Heron began playing keyboards and, teaming up with Brian Jackson, setting his political poetry to a jazz-funk fusion. First releases were on the Flying Dutchman label in the 70’s.
During the 1970s and 1980’s for Arista label, Scott-Heron released twelve albums. Then, after a twelve-year break, he signed with TVT Records and released Spirits in 1993. The first cut of this album, “Message To The Messenger,” is a warning to today’s rappers, urging them to take responsibility in their art and in their communities. Since then, he has played to sell-out crowds all over the world, performing at major festivals in England; including Glastonbury where I took his pictures of him in the 80’s.
More recently he has been arrested for possession of a gram of cocaine and now faces about a year in prison. He is also working on a book “The Last Holiday” for Publisher Canongate www.canongate.net. Defiant as ever he turned down rehabilitation as an alternative to prison. Maybe in prison he will get a fresh perspective and produce more of his articulate insights. Gil Scott-Heron got out of prison on the 28th October 2002.
Since getting out of prison he has teamed up with Brian Jackson.