The First Minute of a New Day is an album by American vocalist Gil Scott-Heron, keyboardist Brian Jackson, and the Midnight Band—an eight-piece musical ensemble. It was released in January 1975 on Arista Records. Recording sessions for the album took place in the summer of 1974 at D&B Sound in Silver Spring, Maryland. It was the follow-up to Scott-Heron's and Jackson's critically acclaimed collaboration effort Winter in America. The First Minute of a New Day was the first album to feature "Winter in America", the title track of Scott-Heron's previous album which was not featured on its original LP release. The album was reissued on compact disc by Scott-Heron's label Rumal-Gia Records in 1998.
|The First Minute of a New Day|
|Studio album by|
|Studio||D&B Sound in Silver Spring, Maryland|
|Genre||Jazz, R&B, progressive soul|
|Producer||Gil Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson|
|Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson chronology|
Music and lyricsEdit
The First Minute of a New Day served as Jackson's and Scott-Heron's debut for the Arista label and featured the eight-piece Midnight Band. With the Midnight Band and better financial support from Arista, the album benefited from a larger supporting cast and slicker production, in contrast to the sparse production on Winter in America. The Midnight Band would later be featured on following Scott-Heron albums, assisting in production and back-up instrumentation.
The songs on The First Minute of a New Day, which feature themes ranging from spirituality ("Offering") to revolution ("The Liberation Song") and oppression ("Winter in America"), contain jazz melodies by the Midnight Band and funk influences. "Winter in America" featured themes of struggle and had Scott-Heron singing of social, geographical and environmental oppression. The album's only spoken word cut, also a live take, "Pardon Our Analysis" was a sequel to Winter in America's "H2O Gate Blues" as a criticism of President Richard Nixon's pardon, though this time the track did not feature a musical backing of any kind.
|Christgau's Record Guide||B|
|The Village Voice||B|
Following the little commercial success experienced by Scott-Heron's previous LPs, the album had multi-chart success, which seemed promising for their new record label. Even though Scott-Heron's previous albums, in specific Pieces of a Man and Winter in America, featured singles, they did not chart. However, no singles were released for The First Minute of a New Day, off the album or for promotion.
Following heavy promotion by Arista, the album entered the Top Jazz Albums chart at number 17 on February 8, 1975. It later peaked at number 5 before falling off the charts on July 19, 1975, 24 weeks after its original appearance. The First Minute of a New Day also peaked at number 8 on the Black Albums chart and number 30 on the Pop Albums chart. While not as critically acclaimed as Jackson's and Scott-Heron's previous effort Winter in America, The First Minute of a New Day gave Scott-Heron wider recognition among fans and critics, due in part to its heavy promotion. Tim Sheridan of Allmusic called it "solid, decidedly left-of-center jazz-R&B" and went on to write:
This output, with the opening meditation of "Offering" and the right-on "Ain't No Such Thing as Superman," solidifies Heron's place in the pantheon of jazz poets.— Tim Sheridan
Music critic Neil Tesser described Scott-Heron's singing voice for the album as "mahogany, sunshine, and tears." The contributions by the Midnight Band were also praised by critics. Robert Christgau of the Village Voice noted that "the free-jazz-gone-populist band generates so much rhythmic energy that it carries over the weak spots".
All songs written by Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, except where noted.
- "Offering" – 3:34
- "The Liberation Song (Red, Black and Green)" – 6:18
- "Must Be Something" (Jackson, Danny Bowens, Scott-Heron, Bob Adams) – 5:16
- "Ain't No Such Thing As Superman" (Scott-Heron) – 4:13
- "Pardon Our Analysis (We Beg Your Pardon)" – 8:01
- "Guerilla" (Scott-Heron) – 7:49
- "Winter in America" (Scott-Heron) – 6:09
- "Western Sunrise" (Bilal Sunni Ali) – 5:16
- "Alluswe" – 5:04
All bonus cuts for the CD reissue were managed and produced by Malcolm Cecil.
- "A Talk: Bluesology / Black History / Jaws / The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" - Live at The Wax Museum 1982 – 10:41
- "Winter in America" - 1978 Solo Version – 6:26
- 1975: Jazz Albums – #5
- 1975: Black Albums – #8
- 1975: Pop Albums – #30
- Gil Scott-Heron – vocals, piano, electric piano, guitar
- Brian Jackson – synthesizer, keyboards, flute, vocals
- Bilal Sunni Ali – flute, harmonica, saxophone
- Danny Bowens – bass
- Eddie Knowles - percussion, conga
- Barnett Williams - percussion
- Victor Brown – percussion, vocals
- Charlie Saunders – congas, drums
- Bob Adams – drums
- Victor Bowens – tambourine, vocals, bells
- Backus, Rob (1976). Fire Music: A Political History of Jazz (2nd ed.). Vanguard Books. ISBN 091770200X.
- Columnist (February 8, 1975). "The New Record Company". Billboard: 61. Retrieved on 2011-04-10.
- "Discogs.com - Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - Midnight Band: The First Minute Of A New Day (1998 Reissue)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
- "Winter in America liner notes". Inwinter. Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- "Catching Up with Gil - Music - Houston Press". Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
- "Gil Scott-Heron: The First Minute Of A New Day : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 11 October 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
- "allmusic ((( The First Minute of a New Day > Overview )))". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
- Allmusic review
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- Christgau, Robert (March 17, 1975). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
- Houston Press review
- Rolling Stone review
- "The First Minute of a New Day > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
- "Billboard Music Charts - The First Minute of a New Day - Search Results". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-29.[dead link]
- "Amazon.com: The First Minute of a New Day: Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson: Music". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
- "Billboard.com - Discography - Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - The First Minute of a New Day". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Archived from the original on March 22, 2016. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
- Winter in America album liner notes by Gil Scott-Heron. Ruma-Gia Ltd./TVT Records, 23 E. 4th Street, New York, NY 10003. 1998.