I was reading the homie Oliver Wang’s excellent LA Times music blog appreciation of Gil Scott-Heron, the singer – as opposed to poet or activist – and one observation struck me in particular that’s totally separate from the main part of the piece: ODub’s passing description of GSH’s musical partner Brian Jackson as “inexplicably under-credited.”
It’s true. For someone responsible for co-writing (and eventually co-producing) everything from Pieces of a Man through 1980, Jackson rarely gets more than a cursory mention in most GSH-related tributes (shit, I even failed to mention him here). He’ll occasionally get name checked in rare groove/record nerd circles for guesting on this D.C. soul/jazz gem. But despite near-equal billing on most of the aforementioned classic LPs, credit-wise the Brooklyn native’s kind of the invisible man.
The above short film doesn’t exactly raise his profile, or fill in the historical blanks. Produced by Stephanie Savre and Rah-nee Kelly, and sharing its title with the great Scott-Heron/Jackson double album released in response to America’s bicentennial hoopla, It’s Your World IDs itself as a documentary, but it’s a pretty loose and low-key one. That’s actually its charm. There’s little in the way of background info or narrative (go here for that). Just a few casual, modest remarks from Jackson about the role of musicians as messengers relative to the bigger picture interwoven with performance footage. There’s also some good-natured goofing for the camera with band-mates and friends, giving things a home-movie vibe. Once again, Jackson’s individual story takes a backseat to the music. And you get the feeling maybe he’s pretty content with it being that way.