The conditions have to be just right for lightning to strike twice in the same location which holds true for studio recordings where the variables of performers, music, and other factors can affect the outcome. While Robert Glasper's 2012 critically acclaimed Black Radio (Blue Note) deftly combined jazz, hip hop, and Neo Soul" to win Best R&B Album at the 55th Grammy Awards, its follow up, Black Radio 2, is worthy but won't garner the attention of its predecessor. With a new roster of popular names that include poet/rapper Common, the iconic Snoop Dog, and instrumental changes like the noted ...read more
The reason this album is special to me is because the producer of the album--J Dilla is my favorite hip hop producer and I got the privilege to actually work with him before he passed away in 2006. To work with him--watch him make music--watch him in the lab" and see how he works. J Dilla is probably the only producer I know that changed the way musicians actually play their instruments. Normally a producer will just take from the musicians and do their thing--but J Dilla actually changed the way musicians ...read more
Evoking the fruitful jazz and pop crossover efforts of the 1970s, pianist Robert Glasper's Experiment infuses improvisational sensibilities into an array of contemporary black music traditions, from R&B and neo-soul to funk and hip-hop. Glasper is no stranger to such collaborations; in addition to leading his own acoustic and electric ensembles, he is music director of Mos Def's touring band and sideman to rapper Q-Tip and R&B singer Maxwell.Drawing from an impressive pool of pop music talent, Black Radio features an all-star cast, including household names like Ledisi, Me'shell Ndegeocello and Musiq Soulchild. The majority of the date ...read more
"Hello world, peace and love--I wish you the best, and now for the next" are the first words uttered with the cadence of a street corner preacher-come poet by Shafiq Hussein, only two bars into Robert Glasper's Black Radio (Blue Note, 2012). As if to lay down the essence of his latest record right off the top, Glasper's piano dances mercurially over Hussein's musings like a skater creating abstract art on glistening ice. The effect is beguiling, sexy and urban chic in a way that is at once challenging and embracing.When queried about what he could imagine his ...read more
Robert Glasper's love for the music of his upbringing is deep. The sounds of hip hop, R&B, and urban soul music are intrinsically linked to a brilliant young jazz pianist who has gigged with jazz icons, headlined his own bands, and released a number of noteworthy recordings, including 2007's In My Element (Bluenote) and 2009's Double Booked (EMI). His music has borne the fruits of this passion; he's as comfortable with J Dilla" as he is with John Coltrane. Some have questioned whether Glasper is abandoning his jazz roots and selling out to popular music. Yet as if to quote ...read more
Depending on your age, Houston-born pianist/composer Robert Glasper is--like trumpeters Christian Scott and Ambrose Akinmusire, and bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding-either the herald of a new world a-comin' when jazz musicians will be heard on pop radio on a regular basis, or he's a throwback to the golden age of the seventies, when jazz stars, from Herbie Hancock to Donald Byrd, were played on African-American and pop stations.Blessed with a fleet-fingered, countrified approach to the piano that blends gospel, Thelonious Monk and hip-hop producer J Dilla, Black Radio is a propulsive, poetic and profound recording that deftly and defiantly destroys ...read more
Pianist Robert Glasper's embrace of hip hop--which is being foregrounded by Blue Note, presumably as a device to widen his trio's appeal--is, truth be told, overstated going on misleading. For at its core, Glasper's music is everything that hip hop is not, or anyway not what it is perceived to be. In My Element--a wonderfully rounded development of the music presented by the same inventive trio on Canvas (Blue Note, 2005)--is subtle, allusive, rhythmically complex, and understated. And it's all acoustic; there are no samples, pre-programmed beats or spinning wheels of steel.
Glasper's embrace of hip hop is ...read more
One night in 2006 the Robert Glasper Trio was tearing it up onstage, with pianist Glasper painting hypnotic patterns over the frenetic groove of drummer Damion Reid bassist and Vicente Archer. About an hour in, people started walking out--first in ones and twos, then in groups. It wasn't Ornette Coleman getting punched in the face by a scandalized audience member, but the rebuke was pretty clear. The house was half-full at show's end, and while the trio got a well-deserved standing ovation, it wasn't enough to spur an encore.
The walkout was mysterious. Upon reflection--and after hearing Glasper's ...read more
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11
The diversity of jazz is one of its most appealing qualities. Some practitioners aim for improvisation around written forms that range from bare sketches to detailed complexity. Others prefer to live life on the edge, performing completely improvised music without a safety net. Day four of the TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival provided a cross-section of artists, ranging from the relatively accessible and form-based piano trio ...read more
Many young jazz musicians are no strangers to pop music. More familiar with Radiohead's Kid A and Public Enemy than Jerome Kern or Cole Porter, they have become increasingly more adventurous in an attempt to make jazz a commodity for the 21st Century. Unlike glossy pop covers from the '80s, Robert Glasper uses subtlety to explore late-20th Century music. This is no surprise. Having performed with Q-Tip, Bilal and Meshell Ndegeocello, Glasper finds comfort and room to breathe in his post-soul approach to jazz. Make no mistake about it, Canvas is as straight-ahead as they come these ...read more
Robert Glasper QuintetJoe's Pub, NYCJanuary 13, 2006Anyone who attended Robert Glasper's January 13th set at Joe's Pub solely on the basis of Canvas, Glasper's recent recording for Blue Note, was in for a major shock. Canvas is a very well executed, compelling, but quite straightforward jazz album. What Glasper and his crew laid down at Joe's was a glimpse of the music's future, pure and simple.The casually dressed group -- with Glasper at the piano, Casey Benjamin on saxophone and vocoder, Lionel Loueke on guitar and effects, Mark Kelly on bass, and Chris Dave behind ...read more
In addition to unveiling gems from the past like John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk's At Carnegie Hall, Blue Note continues to spotlight the musicians of present with recordings like Robert Glasper's Canvas. Similar to Jason Moran, Jacky Terrasson, and Bill Charlap, who also record for Blue Note, Glasper has the vision and ability to create a fresh statement within the jazz piano idiom. Following on the heels of his well received 2004 debut, Mood, this recording continues to reveal his individuality and talent. This is primarily a trio date with up-and-coming bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion ...read more
Robert Glasper Canvas Blue Note Records 2005
Wow! That's the first expression that came to mind when I heard Rise and Shine, the opening track on Canvas. Pianist Robert Glasper's trio--including Vicente Archer on bass and Damion Reid on drums--is as tight as a unit can. This aptly named tune, sure to help many a dreary eye awaken, sizzles from start to finish. And it's just a prelude of things to come.The music is straightforward piano jazz--such as that performed and recorded by McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Andrew Hill, Bud Powell and ...read more
Houston-raised, New York-based pianist Robert Glasper's Blue Note debut is only his second CD as a leader, but one would be hard pressed to find a single argument against his being ready for the big-time jazz limelight. The 67 minutes of music on Canvas are packed with richly memorable compositions, virtuosic playing, unassumingly exotic harmony and superlative group interplay. It's the most startlingly fine debut on Blue Note in quite a while.This is, for the most part, a trio recording (tenor player Mark Turner and vocalist Bilal appear on two songs apiece) and the three-way interplay of Glasper, ...read more
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