This review of Gil's "Free Will" reissue was written by Karl Stark - Philadelphia Sunday Inquirer, 12-23/01.

I will write it verbatim so as to maintain accuracy of the author.

Gil Scott-Heron
Free Will
(BMG/Bluebird - 3 stars rating)

Singer Gil Scott-Heron was sentenced to jail this month after ignoring a judge's demand that he undergo drug rehabilitation for cocaine. Scott-Heron's denial is of long standing, but his music endures.

The newly reissued Free Will,from 1972, recalls a happier time. Scott-Heron, pianist Brian Jackson, and percussionist Eddie Knowles and Charlie Sanders had been students at Lincoln University in Chester County. Scott-Heron, who went by the nickname Spider, broke through with a mix of jazz and poetry that has earned him recognition as one of the parents of rap, though his political analysis and poetic images were far more developed than those of most of his heirs. His articulate rant about the creation of Elvis makes for some powerful verbal riffs.

This disc contains several classics, including "The Get Out of the Ghetto Blues," and it soars on work of Hubert Laws, whose flute wraps Scott-Heron's vocals in a floral embrace. Those vocals are shaky at times, though his heart is hard to miss. Free Will is an inconsistent set that is both eloquent and rough-hewn, a funky conflation of politics and groove.

- Karl Stark

Let's hear from the rest of you who have listened to this CD.

If each one reach one, then each one teach one.