Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson | Winter in America [Jazz-Vocals/Tvt/1973]
One of Gil Scott-Heron’s finest 1970s albums, WINTER IN AMERICA finds the ever-provocative vocalist/poet playing off the surprisingly gentle piano arrangements of Brian Jackson. Whereas other records (particularly SMALL TALK AT 125th AND LENOX) focus more on Scott-Heron’s spoken-word missives, WINTER highlights the influential African-American performer’s abilities as a singer, particularly on the soulful “Back Home” and the smooth, lyrically pointed title track, which superficially evokes a contemporaneous Barry White tune.
While the first part of WINTER IN AMERICA consists of studio sessions, the final four numbers feature Scott-Heron playing live in Washington, D.C., with the concert recordings easily on a par with the more polished earlier tracks, as exemplified by his stirring medley of “The Bottle,” a funky cautionary tale, and the percussive, chanted “Guan Guanco.” Second only to PIECES OF A MAN as an intriguing mix of melody and rhetoric, WINTER IN AMERICA is required listening for anyone interested in Scott-Heron. ~ CDUniverse.com