Well, this is kind of correct. Gil is also the person who first "hipped" me to the realities of the world and politics of every situation. Sitting around between his recording or getting his cover art worked on, he would break things down to me. It was hear that I first learned about repression, oppression, discrimination and Apartheid. I had some of the words before these conversations but I did not have the concepts.
Gil and I would see each other every now and then but the last few were kind of painful because of his problem with drugs. In fact, this seemed to make it hard for him to talk to me. I must have just reminded him of something different. I know that he did to me.
My last good memory with Gil concerned some time when we were both in London. I think I was there to hang out for a summer. He was there for a concert. Walking down the street, I saw some sign for an upcoming show. I went to theater and stood outside for him. Inevitably, he walked by and I stepped up: "Gil, how are you doing?" He looked at me and said, "fine, little brother" and began to walk away. I was like, "Gil, it's me - Christian". He looked at me quizzically. I then said, "Christian... Christian Davenport - you know connected with Arista Records." He then smiled and quickly stated: "sorry brother - get over here" (he hugged me). He then continued, "I was going through my mental rolodex of negroes I knew in London and your name didn't come up. Tell me what you're up too."
Like so many times before, we spent the next 5-8 hours talking about the world, his career, my going to school and everything he expected me to do and be. In between he did a show and then we went to go chill in some house somewhere where he did his best to steer me away from what I did not need to be involved with.
These things Gil could not stay away from and this is partly what did him in. Indeed, my last bad memory of Gil was catching him at the Blue Note or one of those random clubs on the lower east side of Manhattan. Same deal, I saw some sign that Gil was playing and I went to see him. This time, I figured I would just catch him after the show as I showed up late. I didn't end up waiting however because the show was kind of bad and Gil just did not sound right. I think he saw me at one point and then moved to the other side of the stage (I could be projecting here). At that point, I realized that it was probably not a good thing to check him out after: I did anyway and it was so awkward that I just excused myself. I think we were both embarrassed. I kind of lost him then but kept my memories of all that he did to/for me in my heart. Indeed, any time I pick up something about politics (which is daily now), I think of Gil.