Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jazz Brunch Jam - Robert Glasper

“Most people, if they have different bands, they do separate albums, but I felt I’d be making more of a statement if I put it all on one joint.”

-Robert Glasper on his new album Double-Booked

So last week, the second week of my jazz fix, I followed up with Kurt Elling, a vocalist who re-interprets the American songbook, admittedly in a modern way, but still connecting to a very classic timeline in the development of jazz. This week, I wanted to hit you up with someone decidedly more modern, Robert Glasper and his new album Double-Booked (so new, it doesn't hit for another two days). Glasper has got his feet firmly planted in two kingdoms, hip hop and jazz, exemplifying influences as diverse as J Dilla and Herbie Hancock, and this album pushes that up front and center.

The album, as set up in a phone conversation intro, puts Glasper into two gigs on the same night. The first gig is for The Robert Glasper Trio, plays out a more traditional feel, and is comprised of the album's first six tracks. It's chaotic but tight, with Glasper's piano firmly guiding his accompanying musicians through a set that ends with a Thelonius Monk cover, Think of One, but even here, Glasper isn't ready to let tradition reign supreme. Interwoven within its 9 minutes and 14 seconds, he deftly adds some of Ahmad Jamal’s Swahililand, whose chords formed the basis for the De La Soul joint Stakes Is High, co-written by no other than J Dilla.

1. Intro
2. No Worries
3. Yes I'm Country (And That's Ok)
4. Downtime
5. 59 South
6. Think of One

The second gig / half of the album kicks off with another phone message, this one from ?uestlove evolving into a little ditty with Mos Def adding some vocals, firmly announcing you best be ready for something absolutely different! But just to make sure that you know where he's coming from, Glasper opens up with Butterfly, a Herbie Hancock number (Glasper has had a Hancock track on every one of his albums - tell you anything?), albeit a radically reshaped and enhanced version, and this also includes a Dilla beat. This second set, the second half of the album, kicks and expands the boundaries and hence is performed by the Robert Glasper Experiment.

7. 4eva
8. Butterfly
9. Festival
10. For You
11. All Matter
12. Open Mind

In other words, it's like you're getting two albums for the price of one. I can't share any tracks for you to download, but stream a couple below, and pick up one from his debut album, yet another Hancock tune, Maiden Voyage.

and an older one from his debut album to take home with you:

Visit his website, his label Blue Note Records, and become his friend on MySpace.


Lily Kane said...

Love it! A combination of all my favorite things. Can't wait to catch him on tour

Sean said...

Glad it tickles your ears Lilly. When is Soul Psychadelicyde going to come back to life?