Gil Scott-Heron

From the Vinyl Vault: Gil Scott-Heron's "Pieces of a Man"

 

Gil Scott-HeronArtist: Gil Scott-Heron


Album: Pieces of a Man


Released: 1971


Label: Flying Dutchman Records


 

Pianist, poet, and activist Gil Scott-Heron was born on April 1, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois. In April 1971, at the age of 22, Gil entered the recording studio at Flying Dutchman records and, during a two-day session, cut one of the most important and critical Soul Jazz LPs to date, Pieces of a Man.


This was the young poet's second release for the Flying Dutchman label and is considered by many to be one of his greatest releases of a lengthy recording history. For the session, longtime friend and collaborator, pianist Brian Jackson, joined Heron in the studio. The band consisted of Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie and The Playboys, comprised of bassist Ron Carter, guitarist Burt Jones, flutist Hubert Laws, Purdie on drums and Jackson at the piano and organ.


Heron had the support of some of the greatest players in the industry and ultimately Pieces of a Man, produced by Bob Thiele and arranged by Johnny Pate, became one of the best-selling LPs in the Flying Dutchman catalog.


Artistically, the album found Gil solidifying many of the political themes he had expressed throughout his live performances as captured on his debut release Small Talk at 125th and Lenox. Pieces includes such charged tunes as "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" "Home is Where the Hatred Is" and "Lady Day and John Coltrane".


Soulful, technically brilliant and critically challenging all at once, Pieces of a Man is a social critique found at the crossroads of jazz and soul.