The Gil Scott-Heron Songbook

For Gil Scott-Heron fans this evening at The Jazz Bar would need no extra hype.

The only upsetting point was that it finished so soon.

Guitarist and vocalist Aki Remally and pianist Fraser Urquhart are on stage warming up as the audience, a mix of young and older jazz fans gather in the basement room, filling every crevice.

As the lights dim, the set begins – a blend of jazz, funk and soul from the songbook of poet, revolutionary and godfather of hip hop. The musicality of this band is undeniable and their relationship with each other allows for a relaxed and comforting evening. Even for someone who had never heard any Gil Scott-Heron before doesn't need to, because the songs are funky and accessible for all. Gil Scott-Heron seemed like the perfect choice for this quartet. An artist who documented the African-American experience, but also wider social injustice and political hypocrisy, his words are still as relevant today as they've ever been.

The choice of song was interesting - starting with We Almost Lost Detroit, moving into a personal favourite – Lady Day and John Coltrane – there was a balanced mix of both upbeat and slower sections. It was a pleasure watching the four-piece play out songs, which are clearly very dear to their heart, and we, as an audience bought into their passion.

The band didn't play perhaps Heron's most popular song, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, which I thought would be a sure-fire addition to the set, but it didn't make a difference to the overall feeling at the end of the evening. Even for someone who isn't a regular jazz watcher, this could well be the 'something different' ticket you've been looking for this Fringe. The only upsetting point was that it finished so soon, which Aki apologised for, and assured us next year he'll be back to showcase Gil Scott-Heron's legacy over a few hours; we'll hold him to his word.

Reviews by Sophia Charalambous

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Aki Remally and Fraser Urquhart play a whole set of jazz, funk and soul from the songbook of the godfather of hip hop, Gil Scott-Hero with a four-piece jazz funk ensemble featuring the heaviest cats around. The revolution will not be televised but it may happen on stage...

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