Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson It's Your World

This must be a new millennium if Gil Scott-Heron's catalogue is being reissued on the label formerly known as Tee Vee Tunes. It's Your World was mostly recorded live in Boston during the Bicentennial festivities of 1976. Putting him into a particularly ornery mood, Scott-Heron is backed by the Midnight Band, captained by Brian Jackson on keys and flute. This band had debuted on The First Minute of A New Day one year earlier, and Scott-Heron opined in his newly written liner notes that this band was best experienced live. Certainly the live atmosphere is well captured and his lyrics are given greater poignancy in this setting. However, the band sounds overly tight on most tracks; the arrangements are well executed but lack fire. Quite often there is a level of overly self-conscious skill (particularly with saxist Victor Brown) in the music, which is reminiscent of Steely Dan or the original Saturday Night Live band. Only in storming versions of "The Bottle" and "Home is Where the Hatred Is" does the band really bring the funk. A couple of the additional studio tracks, especially the title tune, rise to this level as well. This is a good album, but not as good as earlier material featuring Bernard Purdie and company. (TVT)