Gil Scott-Heron is our greatest urban poet. His words take us beneath the veneer of society where subsistence merges to form a greater understanding. It is Winter in America, 2012.
Bill Ortiz‘s EP recording Winter In America is a heroic attempt that helps us to avoid despair. The music and the message push us safely back from the precipice of the winter of our discontent.
The opening track is an ingenious remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s “Winter In America”. It commences with Bill Ortiz’s horn compelling us to take heed and listen. The track is gutsy and edgy. It crystallizes our attention on what is really going on in the streets across America.
Well they say it’s a cold world
But we got a cold play my man
Rest in Peace, Gil Scott
Without you the revolution would not
What makes this EP even more full circle is the track, “I Still Believe”, a Phoenix Black remix with the eloquent spoken word voice of Linda Tillery and “Zumbi” from Zion I accenting with spoken word/rap. “I Still Believe” contains excerpts from Rev. Martin Luther King’s Nobel Peace Prize speech in Oslo.
The co-operation of Gil Scott-Heron’s revolutionary spirit lives on in his recently published posthumous memoir, “A Last Holiday“. There is a chapter in the book which details the tour that Stevie Wonder and Gil Scott-Heron were on to together where they lobbied for a national holiday for the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gil Scott-Heron draws the correlation between the assassination of John Lennon and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. two great men of peace struck down by violence. As I write this review we are on the edge of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and U.S. federal holiday. It just so happens that the Winter in America EP drops on Martin Luther King Day, January 16th, 2012 direct to fans.
Bill Ortiz states the purpose of this recording best when he says, “I try to bring all these elements of who I am musically into one voice.” You’ve done all that and more Bill with your fine achievement, Winter In America.
Winter In America
Released: January 16, 2012
Label: Left Angle Records
Produced By Ali Zandinejad aka Phoenix Black, Bill Ortiz and Steve Heithecker
1. Winter In America
2. I Still Believe (Remix)
3. Word Play (Remix)
4. I Still Believe (Instrumental)
5. Winter In America (Radio Edit)
- Gil Scott-Heron Memoir Set for January Release (rollingstone.com)
- How Gil Scott-Heron and Stevie Wonder set up Martin Luther King Day (guardian.co.uk)
- The Last Holiday by Gil Scott-Heron: review (telegraph.co.uk)