Published on March 19th, 2012 | by thevyne2
Vyne Music Review: Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio
It’s been a while since I’ve encountered an album that I can listen to over and over again in its entirety. One that, even in the age of iTunes and Spotify, I’ve purchased the whole album. Every single track. It has also been a while since I’ve heard an album that has a perfect balance of R&B, jazz and hip-hop. The Hidden Beach “Unwrapped” series was probably the last time it was done well, though that was “jazzifying” hip-hop and R&B versus blending. This album that I’m talking about is Black Radio by Robert Glasper Experiment.
Who is Robert Glasper? Robert Glasper is a talented 33-year-old jazz pianist from Houston, TX. Music was in his blood. His mother was a gospel, jazz and blues singer and those influences are clearly woven throughout his music. But this album is not only about Robert. It deliberately, yet brilliantly, pulls in many voices of our era: Erykah, Crisette, Musiq, Bilal, Meshell and more – all whose voices perfectly blend with Robert and the band’s beautifully played smooth instrumentals.The rest of his “Experiment” includes Casey Benjamin (sax and vocoder), Derrick Hodge (bass), and Chris Dave (drums). NPR describes the band by saying, “in this group, they all treat ‘jazz’ more as verb than noun, which has allowed them to freely and frequently collaborate with rappers, singers and other unclassifiables of talent.”
Black Radio is Robert Glasper’s fifth album and is a refreshing compilation – one in the likes of Quincy Jones – that evokes a special appreciation of jazz, even though it is much more than jazz. It’s that album that you put on in the background while you’re in the zone at work, after you put the top down as you’re cruising down Lake Shore Drive or the West Side Highway, or while you’re chilling with your boo and sipping a glass of wine on a Friday night. I personally think it has the potential to be the soundtrack or anthem for our generation (remember the Love Jones soundtrack?). My favorite tracks include 5, 6, and 7: “Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.)” featuring Ledisi, “Move Love” featuring KING, and “Ah Yeah” featuring Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele.
So if you haven’t done so yet, download the album. Support good, real music. You won’t be disappointed.
Rating: 4 out of 4 berries on the Vyne