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Published on May 31, 2011
Gil Scott-Heron (born April 1, 1949 -- May 27, 2011) was an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his late 1960s and early 1970s work as a spoken word soul performer and his collaborative work with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues and soul music, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. The music of these albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. Scott-Heron's recording work is often associated with black militant activism and has received much critical acclaim for one of his most well-known compositions "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". On his influence, a music writer later noted that "Scott-Heron's unique proto-rap style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists".
Winter in America is a studio album by American soul musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron and musician Brian Jackson, released in May 1974 on Strata-East Records. Recording sessions for the album took place on three recording dates in September and October of 1973 at D&B Sound Studio in Silver Springs, Maryland. The album served as the third collaboration effort by Scott-Heron and Jackson following the latter's contributions on Pieces of a Man and Free Will. As the first record produced by the two musicians, it was also the first of their work together to have Jackson receive co-billing for a release. The album features introspective and socially-conscious lyrical content by Scott-Heron and mellow instrumentation and soundscape stylistically rooted in jazz and the blues, which produced a fusion of bluesy jazz-based vocals and Jackson's free jazz arrangements. The album is also one of the earliest known studio releases to contain proto-rap elements such as a stripped-down production style and spoken word-vocalization.
Heron's father Gil Heron (1922 - 27 November, 2008) was a Jamaican footballer/soccer player. He was the first black player to play for Scottish club Celtic FC after being invited on a trial in 1951. Heron went on to score on his debut, on August 18, 1951 in a League Cup tie against Morton that Celtic won 2-0.