In February 2010, the late, legendary musician, poet and author Gil Scott-Heron released his thirteenth, and last, studio album. First conceptualized in 2005, and ultimately produced by XL Recordings head Richard Russell during New York recording sessions that commenced in January 2008, I'm New Here was Scott-Heron's first album in thirteen years and found him sounding as vital and insightful as ever before. It was, and still is, a record that reveals something unexpected at every turn; one that found Scott-Heron pushing, probing and testing the limits just as he always had; always looking forward, still challenging conventions and expectations.
To mark the 10th anniversary of I'm New Here's release, XL Recordings will release a unique reimagining of the album by the acclaimed Chicago-based musician Makaya McCraven, whose work Russell first discovered after hearing McCraven's "Above & Beyond," from 2017's Highly Rare album. Equally renowned and revered as a musician, drummer, sampler, beat-maker and producer, McCraven is widely regarded as one of the most exciting and original voices in modern jazz via a run of records that were at once genre-defying and redefining such as Universal Beings, Highly Rare and Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON mixtape) for the highly influential Chicago label International Anthem. As the New York Times states: "Makaya McCraven has quietly become one of the best arguments for jazz's vitality."
On We're New Again – recorded and produced in the main at his Chicago home studio with a host of close-knit musicians - McCraven fuses the kind of killer, improvised live musicianship and electronic, sample-based approach to recording he's renowned for with that vocal – the deep, stop-you-in-your – tracks, worldly-wise voice of Gil Scott-Heron – to enormously powerful effect. The resulting record is a sonically rich, totally original yet deeply respectful accompanying piece to Scott-Heron and Russell's original work and is the l