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The Guardian running an interview with Brian Jackson


Pieces of a Man, their 1971 album, established Scott-Heron as a unique voice and sold a respectable 30,000 copies. Gil soon insisted Brian’s name be alongside his and, from 1974’s Winter in America up to 1980’s 1980, every album they recorded was credited – at least on the album covers – to Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson. Signed by Clive Davis to Arista Records, the two lived, worked, wrote and toured together.

“My best memories of that time are being at home and watching TV with Gil,” says Jackson. “We’d see how corporate America was trying to infiltrate our minds and, out of that, wrote a lot of songs.”

When Gil Scott-Heron died in 2011 the many rappers, singers and musicians he inspired paid fulsome tribute. Now, more than a decade on, the music Jackson and Scott-Heron made is heard everywhere, and Jackson is reclaiming his role in it by performing their songs with great joy and generosity. It seems living well is the best reward.

“As a child I heard Max Roach’s Parisian Sketches and it enchanted me,” says Jackson. “How music could paint a picture of a place. Since then music’s been what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m so happy to be back.”

 Brian Jackson plays Cheltenham jazz festival on 2 May. This Is Brian Jackson is released by BBE on 27 May.






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