More on Scott-Heron — artist in the American tradition

I turned to the recordings of Gil Scott-Heron after writing that he should have and did known better than to abuse drugs as he did, leading to his decline and demise. They make me ever more impressed with his scope and intensity, in both long ago and recent work. His 2010 recording "Me and the Devil" fully justifies the black and white zombie pulp of the video by Coodie and Chike that accompanies it. It's a horror song of a burned out, psychotic soul, a new link in an American tradition running from Edgar Allan Poe through Robert Johnson … [Read more...]

Anti-heroes of jazz-beyond-jazz

Fug Tuli Kupferberg and comic-book depressive/trad jazz fan Harvey Pekar dying the same week thins the ranks of American refuseniks, those Bartleby-like individuals who didn't drop out of society so much as dive in by insisting on their contrarianism, right or wrong. In my book (or blog) they join Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, Harry Partch and William Burroughs in the pantheon of unapologetic warts-and-all individualists, cultural heroes who speak their truth, regardless of consequence, and offer devastating critiques though from often … [Read more...]