Album review: We’re New Again by Gil Scott-Heron, Makaya McCraven
Gil Scott-Heron, Makaya McCraven
We’re New Again
Shortly before his death, Gil Scott-Heron gave an interview to the New Yorker about his latest album, I’m New Here. The album – the brainchild of XL label founder, Richard Russell – had been recorded in snippets and interviews with the jazz poet throughout the last troubled years of his life, and while Scott-Heron didn’t feel that it was necessarily his creation, and rather Russell’s, “All the dreams you show up in are not your own.”
Scott-Heron has returned in another dream, this time Makaya McCraven. McCraven has transformed the recordings of the legendary poet, submerging them in the sounds of the late-20th century that Scott-Heron often used in his works. Perfectly segueing between genre’s McCraven takes from the funk, blues, soul and experimental jazz of the era when Scott-Heron was most prolific. Tracks like ‘New York is Killing Me’ sound like they came straight out of the Blue Note recording sessions in 1962, while others like ‘The Patch’ have the same gritty feel as Gil Scott-Heron’s most well known 1971 track ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.’
Although the album travels through both the history of Scott-Heron and the time he was most active during, McCraven’s collage approach to mixing together genres, instruments and Scott-Heron’s deep baritone create something that is entirely new, again.
– Andi Endruhn