Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gil Scott-Heron - “Black Wax” BluRay (director: Robert Mugge)

Poet-prophet and proto-rap icon

Anyone not familiar with the work of Gil Scott-Heron is really missing out on one of America's finest and wisest musical storytellers and a major (major!) inspiration for the early rap scene even. Scott-Heron was a profoundly political and socially responsible poet and musician, working in the avenues of spoken word and music both separately and simultaneously. 

Here, in this 1982 film, director Mugge pretty much hands over the controls to him, and to great result. Juxtaposing funky live footage of Scott-Heron with his band and in-the-streets-and-on-the-move spoken poetry, “Black Wax” is an intimately personal portrait of an artist at the top of his game. Don’t expect any sort of history lesson, as there’s no background or historical info here, but simply a “day in the life” of this brilliant man.

Sadly, Scott-Heron passed away in 2011. But thanks to MVD Visual, this lively and enlightening document is seeing a new life on remastered BluRay. It looks and sounds great, and the words of Gil Scott-Heron resonate still today. Superb film!

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