When some of the biggest names in R&B and Hip-Hop are clamoring to be on a jazz record, you know you’re dealing with a special kind of jazz musician.
Robert Glasper has worked in the traditional jazz-trio format before, but over the past few years he’s incorporated all the sounds he grew up with in Houston: soul, rap, rock … whatever feels good goes into the gumbo. He’s worked with the crème de la crème of black music to include Jill Scott, Eryka Badu & Musiq Soulchild. His band is the Robert Glasper Experiment, and his current album is Black Radio 2 which is a beautiful continuation of the Grammy award winning Black Radio 1.
The liner notes for his records are a kind of manifesto lamenting the stagnation and “collective dumbing down” of black popular music in the US. Glasper opines, “When music is crashing around us, when you hear the same five songs on the radio that aren’t really saying much, we can always go back to great music. Great music always lives on.” Amen my brother. If you listen to the radio airwaves long enough, you are liable to get some kinda lobotomy. Let’s keep real music like this alive!