In a sense, some of Scott-Heron's sweetest songs—such as the rarely played gem "A Very Precious Time," which achingly recalls the sensations of first love—may do the most political work of all. "From the beginning and throughout, our intention has been to accurately and positively represent all aspects of the black community," says Scott-Heron. "We're well-rounded individuals. We're concerned with ourselves and the government and Mexican farm workers and Iranians and coal miners and a song for a lady, and there's no musical category or direction that fits that. See, some people have been limited in their exposure to the songs we've done. But we know all the songs. See, we're not limited."
Gil-Scott Heron performs as part of the Long Beach Jazz Festival at the Rainbow Lagoon, Shoreline Dr., behind the Hyatt Regency, adjacent to the Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, (562)436-7794; www.longbeachjazzfestival.com. Sat., 1 p.m. $30-$135. All ages.