“The world is ending and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. On the shore buildings are burning but your drifting peacefully out on the calm, silent ocean, into the fog and on…”
Painting epic scenes in your head such as this one which appeared in mine throughout the his intimate concert in Berlin in May, Robert Glasper enabled his audience to leave reality for a while, stimulating corners of their minds they didn’t know were there with a mind blowing performance of his project ‘Black Radio’.
One of the greatest jazz pianist in the world, Glasper has made a bold move in this new project, mixing spine-tingling jazz chord voicings and genius melodic lines with fat hip hop beats and bad ass bass lines, not to mention keytar, vocoder and effects. Don’t be fooled, while you’re whipping your head back and forth as though you were at a true hip hop concert, the beat is constantly being intelligently displaced or changing in and out of time signatures and thanks to drummer Mark Colenburg, the groove continues flawlessly. I stood there in disbelief wondering how it can be so complex and still groove THAT hard.
Sometimes Glasper would do jazz improvisation on the piano in his left hand over one eerie sustained synth chord in his right hand creating beautiful layers of sound and textures. The bass and the drums often seem so unrelated to one another, not playing the normal synchronized hits and locked in grooves of an urban outfit, but their independent rhythms melded together so perfectly to create a powerful groove.
Glasper is a true musician, he isn’t on stage to get external validation or praise, he isn’t looking to see peoples hands in the air, he looks out into the crowd as if he is trying to read people’s minds, see how they feel and how the music effects them. When he plays you are hearing music like nothing else.
It was unbelievable to be able to attend this concert and meet the man himself afterwards as he mingled with the crowd. He is making real music and I hope you check it out.
This album is worth every last dollar, featuring guest artists such as Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafiq Husayn, Musiq Soulchild and many more. You should buy it.. right now..
Check out the Electronic Press Kit for Black Radio