Born in Chicago, Gil Scott-Heron moved to the Bronx at the age of 12 and ultimately settled in New York City.
Jimmy Scott, Yasiin Bey (the former Mos Def), Roots mainstay Questlove, soul singer Bilal, pianist Robert Glasper and a promised share of special guests will celebrate the life and legacy of Gil Scott-Heron this Friday at the Highline Ballroom.
Bey, the former king of certainty known better by his pre-2012 moniker Mos Def, and legendary contralto jazz singer Jimmy Scott will top the varied bill known as the "Indelible Festival." Saxophonist Gary Bart, Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew, Derrick Hodge, and pianist and poet Cecil Taylor will also celebrate the life of Heron, who died last May.
Heron's work continues to gain in influence, marked in part by the 2010 release of his album I'm New Here and a New Yorker piece called "New York is Killing Me." The essay by Alec Wilkinson seemed formed as anything Gay Talese ever achieved, balancing Heron's weathered yet cheery disposition and musical discipline with his heavy crack use. Heron continues to inspire a new generation: he was sampled on one of the most unexpected albums of 2011, the Jamie xx-produced We're New Here.
And if anyone is well-equipped enough to do Heron's blend of hip-hop, poetry and politicking any kind of justice, it's Yasiin Bey.
In what capacity -- drums or wheels of steel or some other form -- Roots drummer Questo will contribute to the night is yet to be confirmed. Fans are bound to be sated, as his legend as a DJ is beginning to parallel that of his skills as producer and drummer.
The show's promoter, Jill Newman Productions, bills this as both inspiration and tribute: “Indelible is dedicated to those who inspire and influence young people and, by their example, make a difference in the world.”