By Ryan Hester |Staff Writer|
The Robert Glasper Experiment’s highly anticipated new album, Black Radio, is a mesmerizing blend of jazz and hip-hop. Just one listen to this album and you will be hooked.
Glasper is known mainly for his hip-hop and jazz combinations that give life to his music. He draws out unrestrained and spontaneous vibes with many of the artists he works with and conceives a new and exciting kind of jazz.
The band includes Glasper on piano, Vincente Archer on bass, Chris Dave on drums and Casey Benjamin playing the alto saxophone and vocoder.
Glasper, originally from Houston, puts his artistically versatile abilities up front, which emphasizes the musical experience.
“I started my own thing in 2002, and that comes with composition,” Glasper said in an interview with The Revivalist. “You become yourself when you write compositions. Jazz is a mixture of everything, that’s why it’s changed so much. It’s a living and breathing thing.“
His vision for this album was to cater to a different set of fans, opening the ears of others and critics to different genres. He wanted to connect with the jazz sound, rather than take it over.
“I wanted to do a record that showcased the fact that we play with artists in other genres,” said Glasper on his website. “The album has more of an urban, hip-hop, soul kind of vibe, but the spine of it all is still a jazz spine.”
“Ah Yeah,” one track from the album, is a tranquil and thought-provoking song that evokes blissful feelings. “Afro Blue,” featuring Erykah Badu, is an absolutely joyful, soulful song that is filled with beautiful harmonies.
“I want to be like Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson in everybody’s iPod,” said Glasper, “I don’t want to just hand it to the jazz cats. I want to cater to the hip-hop cats, and to the rock cats.”
Listeners will be inspired by the creativity and talent the Experiment has to offer. Black Radio draws from jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock but refuses to be pinned down by any one tag.
The extraordinary thing about Black Radio is how Glasper was able to pile so many different voices into one great album. All the artists featured are friends and have a similar music background.
There is an impressive list of collaborators on the album: Lalah Hathaway, Shafiq Husayn, Erykah Badu, Musiq Soulchild, Chrisette Michele, KING, Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Ledisi, Meshell Ndegeocello, Stokley Williams and Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) all lend their vocals to Glasper’s songs.
“Everyone just said yes, period, we’ll do it.” said Glasper, “It was smoother than I ever thought it would be to get all these great, amazing artists to come together and do this project.”
Make no mistake: Black Radio is a musical force to be reckoned with. Glasper’s smooth styles and the all-star cast of characters breathe a genuine soul into the music.
This highly-anticipated album is scheduled to make a Feb. 28 release.