The First Minute of a New Day

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.[2] Recording sessions for the album took place in the summer of 1974 at D&B Sound in Silver Spring, Maryland.[3] 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.[4] The album was reissued on compact disc by Scott-Heron's label Rumal-Gia Records in 1998.[5]

The First Minute of a New Day
The First Minute of a New Day.jpg
Studio album by
Gil Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson and the Midnight Band
ReleasedJanuary 1975
RecordedJune–July 1974
StudioD&B Sound in Silver Spring, Maryland
GenreJazz, R&B, progressive soul[1]
Length47:52
LabelArista
ProducerGil Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson
Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson chronology
Winter in America
(1974)
The First Minute of a New Day
(1975)
From South Africa to South Carolina
(1976)

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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5][6] "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.[7]

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [8]
Christgau's Record GuideB[9]
Houston Press(favorable)[11]
Rolling Stone(favorable)[12]
The Village VoiceB[10]

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.[13] 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.[13]

Following heavy promotion by Arista,[6] the album entered the Top Jazz Albums chart at number 17 on February 8, 1975.[14] It later peaked at number 5 before falling off the charts on July 19, 1975, 24 weeks after its original appearance.[14] 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.[13] 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.[6] 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.[7]

— Tim Sheridan

Music critic Neil Tesser described Scott-Heron's singing voice for the album as "mahogany, sunshine, and tears."[15] The contributions by the Midnight Band were also praised by critics.[15] 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".[9]

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson, except where noted.[16]

Side one

  1. "Offering" – 3:34
  2. "The Liberation Song (Red, Black and Green)" – 6:18
  3. "Must Be Something" (Jackson, Danny Bowens, Scott-Heron, Bob Adams) – 5:16
  4. "Ain't No Such Thing As Superman" (Scott-Heron) – 4:13
  5. "Pardon Our Analysis (We Beg Your Pardon)" – 8:01

Side two

  1. "Guerilla" (Scott-Heron) – 7:49
  2. "Winter in America" (Scott-Heron) – 6:09
  3. "Western Sunrise" (Bilal Sunni Ali) – 5:16
  4. "Alluswe" – 5:04

Bonus tracksEdit

All bonus cuts for the CD reissue were managed and produced by Malcolm Cecil.[3]

  1. "A Talk: Bluesology / Black History / Jaws / The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" - Live at The Wax Museum 1982 – 10:41
  2. "Winter in America" - 1978 Solo Version – 6:26

ChartsEdit

Billboard Music Charts (North America) – The First Minute of a New Day[13]

  • 1975: Jazz Albums – #5
  • 1975: Black Albums – #8
  • 1975: Pop Albums – #30

PersonnelEdit

MusiciansEdit

Additional personnelEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Backus, Rob (1976). Fire Music: A Political History of Jazz (2nd ed.). Vanguard Books. ISBN 091770200X.
  2. ^ Columnist (February 8, 1975). "The New Record Company". Billboard: 61. Retrieved on 2011-04-10.
  3. ^ a b "Discogs.com - Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - Midnight Band: The First Minute Of A New Day (1998 Reissue)". Discogs. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  4. ^ "Winter in America liner notes". Inwinter. Archived from the original on 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  5. ^ a b c d "Catching Up with Gil - Music - Houston Press". Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  6. ^ a b c "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.
  7. ^ a b "allmusic ((( The First Minute of a New Day > Overview )))". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  8. ^ Allmusic review
  9. ^ a b 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.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 17, 1975). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  11. ^ Houston Press review
  12. ^ Rolling Stone review
  13. ^ a b c d "The First Minute of a New Day > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  14. ^ a b "Billboard Music Charts - The First Minute of a New Day - Search Results". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-29.[dead link]
  15. ^ a b "Amazon.com: The First Minute of a New Day: Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson: Music". Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  16. ^ "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.

ReferencesEdit

  • Winter in America album liner notes by Gil Scott-Heron. Ruma-Gia Ltd./TVT Records, 23 E. 4th Street, New York, NY 10003. 1998.