Prince has to be one of the most mysterious and intriguing people to ever present at the Grammy’s. From his attire to his demeanor he simply captivated the audience with zero small talk or fanfare (save for his cane). As our OKP family aptly stated, “No disrespect to JT, but no one does smooth and sexy like Prince.” What’s more is that with a new track out and a new website selling tracks and remixes, there will also be a Tribute Concert to Prince at Carnegie Hall curated by none other than our favorite Prince-fanatic — Questlove.
The audiophiles over at Funk It have dropped a gem in the version of a live recording from the iTunes Festival 2012 featuring the Robert Glasper Experiment joined by MF Doom for renditions of Doom classics “Figaro” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
After raising nearly $12,000 from hundreds of donors for his debut record as a bandleader, Otis Brown III is getting down to business. He recorded the album in April 2011 with a set of musicians that have defined music in there own right including Robert Glasper, Ben Williams, John Ellis, Keyon Harrold, Bilal, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato and Nikki Ross.
The Revivalist sat in with Jesse Boykins III at the premier of his new single and video for “B4 the Night is Thru,” to talk vocal technique, his unique journey into the life of an artist, his experiences at the New School, and training with Bilal. A product of both Jamaican and Miami influences as a child, Boykins refined his timeless style through dedication to his craft and a sheer will to make great music. Check out below for our interview plus “B4 the Night is Thru,” Jesse’s brand new short film.
Jazz purists may be taken aback, but Glasper’s vision of melding the worlds of hip-hop, soul, and jazz is a thoughtful take on an idea that has been explored ad nauseum. Black Radio is Glasper’s vision of what the airwaves could sound like – a mixtape of sorts – that may not reignite a new movement to overtake popular radio as we know it today, but it’s a concept that should be applauded for a group of artists who believe in chops over charts.
What you hear in her voice is ancient and inexplicable. She channels grandmothers and griots to bring audiences to the precipice of tears as easily as she incites eruption. Erykah Badu takes stage as both installation art and high wire act. While she has not made a career of being boastful, it is very clear that the queen bee knows who she is. A combination of Abbey Lincoln, Billie Holiday, Chaka Khan, Parliament’s mother ship, and a Hendrix solo, Erykah Badu is the direct byproduct of a lineage preserved and most effectively expressed through song. A sociologist with a rolodex of great producers and an equally impressive catalog of hits, Badu sings a world based very closely upon the one she inhabits, but clearly thinks and aspires to a plane none of us will reach in this life. A voice as joyful as it is pained, her sound does less to rely on the ridiculous range that carries most vocalists, leaning instead on an awesome amount of versatility, unpredictability, and depth.
As the great voices of jazz and soul music are silenced, Erykah Badu – arguably the first successful mutation of both movements — could very well be the last of a dying breed. In an interview with music superstore, Amoeba, trumpeter Christian Scott may have said it best, “I always applaud her for her conviction because she’s such a great artist and really on a lot of levels I feel like she could be the last great jazz singer, which is kind of disheartening a little bit. But just her sensibilities – her ideas about music, how she approaches her music, the notes that she sings, her inflections; I think she’s really a huge light for us right now. Hopefully there will be someone that’ll come and grab the torch from her, but I don’t really hear it yet, so she’s the one right now.”
Jazz in 2012 is at a major breaking point. An artistic insurrection against the restrictive nature of the genre’s traditions is a loudening crescendo. Brooklyn-by-way-of-Houston pianist Robert Glasper is a commander in this revolt, however, he’s embraced one of those very traditions, serving, ironically as the cornerstone of both jazz’s dissolution and ultimate preservation: the super group. Miles had his second quintet, Herbie had the Head Hunters, and Chick had Return to Forever. Tuesday, February 28, 2012, saw the official arrival of the next great super group, the Robert Glasper Experiment (RCDC). The attendees of their performance at New York’s Highline Ballroom that evening bore witness to the band’s live unveiling of Black Radio, their star-studded debut LP, released earlier that day.
This week the Highline Ballroom will be host to a two-night only live event featuring the Robert Glasper Experiment with guests from their explosive 2012 release, Black Radio. Tuesday 2/28 will feature the Experiment with special Guests Yasiin Bey, Chrisette Michele, Lalah Hathaway, and Bilal. Wednesday 2/29 will feature special guests Lupe Fiasco, Ledisi, and Meshell Ndegeocello. You never know who will show up to an Experiment show, these two nights are not to be missed!
Get excited for NPR’s First Listen of The Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio. We’ve been waiting for a couple months to share this exciting piece of musical history with audiences around the world. From a track-by track analysis done by Glasper himself to frequent news updates, nothing beats the day you get to listen to the album in its entirety. Take 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 7 seconds (three times through if you have enough time) of your holiday Monday to give the album an listen-through.
Since this Issue is a major focus of our site, we decided to re-launch Issue No. 2 The Hip Hop and Jazz Debate, which came out in Jan. of 2011. If you didn’t get a chance to read through all of our great features, now is your chance to go through them one by one, including a lengthy list of album reviews. Top Features from this Issue include Weldon Irvine, Respect the Architect: DJs Are Musicians, Word on Rap: The Vocal Instrument, Jazz Poetry, Rap: Cause and Effect of the Black Arts Movement, Insane in the Left Brain and DJ with Live Band vs DJ with Emcee.
The Robert Glasper Experiment has announced that they will release their upcoming album entitled Black Radio on February 28, 2012. Thus far what we know about the album is that Glasper and his experimental-music mongers Casey Benjamin, Derrick Hodge, and Chris “Daddy” Dave will be joined by a slew of exciting guest performers including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafiq Husayn, KING, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Mos Def, Musiq Soulchild,Meshell Ndegeocello, and Stokley Williams. Forget what you thought you knew about the Experiment; this album is sure to bring the music to a new level.
Hey Hey Hey! It’s Friday! Time to celebrate! Check out all the new editorials and features we shared this week.
It was the era that produced Bilal Sayeed Oliver; a man who grew from progeny of the church to prodigy of the jazz circuit well before getting a good grip on life as a freshman at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts; a factory of local talent that boasts Boyz II Men and The Roots amongst notable alumni. Philadelphia is a strange town, amongst few others across the nation, including Washington D.C. and New Orleans, where children still learn to play instruments despite the non-existent budget for arts and culture in schools.
Check out some pictures from the 25th Annual UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival featuring the Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble with Talib Kweli, Bilal, Quadron, Pharoahe Monch and more as well as Little Dragon, Lupe Fiasco, and a whole slew of exciting artistry.
It’s that time of year again for the UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival. This year marks a historic 25 years of the festival with past performers including the Roots, Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq, Q-Tip, Bilal, Quadron, Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, Roy Ayers, Barrington Levy, and many, many more. It is one of the largest student-run festivals in the US with upwards of 30,000 people attending each of the two days in past years.
You may know Otis Brown III from his stints as drummer for the likes of recent GRAMMY award winner Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Kurt Elling, Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, John Legend or any number of other gigs, but now it’s time for Otis to do his own thing and he needs your support!
This has been a pretty good year for the Portland star Esperanza Spalding, and now things are coming full circle for the young protege with one of the most sought out nods of success for an artist: a chance at a Grammy. Also special congrats to Bilal, The Roots and the Stanley Clarke Band (featuring Ruslan Sirota on keys, Ronald Bruner Jr. on drums and special guest Hiromi Uehara on piano), and Marcus Miller on their Grammy Nominations.