Saturday, May 28, 2011

GIL SCOTT-HERON, 1949-2011. Alec Wilkinson's New Yorker article on him from last year is well worth your time; so's Heron's Vibe interview from 1994. That Heron could be, to say the least, difficult is not surprising; what's surprising is that, in this world, more of us aren't. I never complain when a great artist produces less over time, or stops, because it's a miracle that we get art at all, let alone genius.

Last night I pored over a bunch of Heron's stuff and was struck by the great seriousness of it; he had, God knows, a sense of humor, but he didn't clown, and he certainly didn't front. He seems not just to have considered his subjects, but also to have inspected them, carefully and over a lifetime, and his insights are of a very high order. If his introspection was less successful than his inspection, that's just how it goes sometimes, a lot of the time.

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