TOTW- Gil Scott-Heron, Makaya McCraven- Where Did the Night Go

On album “We’re new again” jazz drummer and band leader Makaya McCavern re-imagines the final album of poet and performer Gil Scott-Heron. Turning an album that’s more experimental in its sound design into a jazz infused Hip hop style that works extremely well on many of the tracks.

“Where Did the Night Go” is a great example. The looping industrial sound from the original version is replaced with flute and drums that suit both the words and delivery of Gil Scott-Heron but slightly adjusts their context into something a bit lighter and more dreamlike.

Once the original poem is finished the track then takes samples from the vocals and structures them into a more rigid style. This is then accompanied by a looping flute line and a hiphop drum beat that shifts the context of the original again. It’s achievable due to the outstanding quality of Gil Scott-Herons poetry, how it can both be very personal and at the same time omnipresent. This fluidity in both the text and its delivery gives a gravitas to the piece and still allows for the instrumentation to go in its own direction.

At times The album manages to elevate the original tracks into something even greater than the original recordings and when it doesn’t they’re shifted In directions that makes you see them in a different light. This makes the album well worth a listen wether your new to Gil Scott-Herron or you’ve heard his work before:


TOTW Playlist: