‘I was consumed with anger’: Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron’s brilliant, badly wronged partner

He wrote the music for Scott-Heron’s astonishing streams of social consciousness – and then his royalties got cut off. The jazz-funk artist explains why he focused on a comeback instead of lawsuits

“Hands up who thinks Gil Scott-Heron was one of the 20th century’s greatest poets?” Brian Jackson asks the audience at London’s Jazz Cafe. A sea of hands rise and Jackson nods in approval before launching into Your Daddy Loves You, a song he and Scott-Heron first recorded in 1974, and one of dozens the pair would write together. Upon finishing, Jackson states: “The man who wrote those words was in his early 20s and wouldn’t become a father for several more years. Think about it: Gil could inhabit the spirit of a song. He communicated like few do.”

No one is disagreeing and, when I meet Jackson the following afternoon, his praise for Scott-Heron remains effusive. “Gil had a remarkable maturity about him,” says Jackson. “He was capable of real insights into people, so could write from their situation. There was no posturing in his writing. He was something else.”

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