The annual Red Bull Music Academy has grown into a hotly anticipated event of seminars, classes and performances, and being held in New York City for the first time has driven the quality and demand up to new heights. In one of the most anticipated events of the month long festival, A Night of Improvised Round Robin Duets at Brooklyn Masonic Temple was a magnet of multiple genres and sensibilities, making for an once-in-a-lifetime musical potluck that nourished music lovers of all types. Here’s a recap of every duet:
Happy 2013 International Jazz Day! We assembled a roundtable of historic and influential musicians that will be in Turkey today for International Jazz Day to shed some light on some issues concerning jazz music today. Read on below as Robert Glasper, John Beasley, Keiko Matsui, George Duke, and Terence Blanchard give some insight on a few questions we posed to them!
Derrick Hodge — one of the preeminent bassists, composers, and artists of our time — has officially announced a release date for his solo debut on Blue Note Records entitled Live Today. On August 6, 2013 Hodge will release the fruits of his recording sessions featuring special guests Common, Robert Glasper, Alan Hampton, and more!
David Weiss is one of those unsung musicians on the scene in New York who has an eye for talented musicians and a penchant for fostering that talent. You can find him any number of nights frequenting jam sessions at Smalls, gigs at Le Poisson Rouge, and rehearsals in Midtown. A quick peek at his discography unveils names like Robert Glasper, Jeremy Pelt, and Marcus Strickland (all of whom he’s produced), Freddie Hubbard, Charles Tolliver, and the Cookers (whom he’s performed with), as well as the New Jazz Composers Octet and Point of Departure (both of which he leads). Point of Departure, his current focus, will be releasing their record and performing at DROM on Wednesday 3/6/13. Check out the concept behind Point of Departure and more!
The Houston scene strikes again, this time from the likes of Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle with their debut record, The Freedom of Expression. Raised in the church scene with likes of Chris Dave and Robert Glasper, Moore is a lifelong musician traversing a number bands and styles before going back to school to get a master’s in jazz composition. The new project reflects this background with a great context of musicians including Moore on keys, Matt Leifer on drums, Dominique Sanders on bass, and Matt Hopper on guitar among some other guests.
This past week has not only been a great one for music, but also tons of videos from some of our favorite artists. Check out below for some must-see media from Robert Glasper & Derrick Hodge, Christian Sands & Kris Bowers, and Ric’key Pageot & Dessy Di Lauro!
On harmonica, for a brief, yet memorable moment was Gregoire Maret. What I did not know was that you can really play the harmonica. We’re not talking about the technical element of the instrument (which he does brilliantly, I might add). We’re talking about what Little Richard did on the keys, what Chuck Berry did on the guitar. We’re talking about the difference between someone who was “singing” and someone who was “sangin,’” as they might say in the black church. With every other note, Maret dipped and swayed as his bended knees supported a man unbridled. To watch this seemingly mild-mannered individual take off his metaphorical cool was perhaps the most amusingly captivating moment of the night. It was showmanship at its finest and most unexpected.
Robert Glasper will be bringing together an all-star cast featuring the Robert Glasper Experiment (Derrick Hodge, Mark Colenburg and Casey Benjamin), Lalah Hathaway, Eric Roberson, Stokley (from Mint Condition), Questlove and others to produce a two-night tribute to the music of Stevie Wonder. The performances will include new arrangements of Stevie’s music and the premiere of new Harlem Stage commissioned compositions by Glasper, inspired by Stevie Wonder.
Ahead of the highly anticipated release of José James’ No Beginning, No End, the team released a series of videos featuring iconic pianist and collaborator Robert Glasper interviewing James about the new record, his unique voice and influences, and what’s next.
It has been a great year for Robert Glasper. His highly-anticipated album, Black Radio dropped in February and found an audience that was hungry for a sound that had a heavy dose of jazz, soul, and hip-hop. Recently I caught up with Robert and got to talk and laugh about what life has been like since ‘Black Radio’ has taken on a life of its own.
Moving from a major label to an independent started a shift in Abiah’s music that has materialized as his sophomore album. More intimate in nature and personally compelling, the album features Abiah’s cousin Robert Glasper on piano, guitarist/arranger Marvin Sewell, his long time collaborator, and co-producerr Keith Witty as well as Ulysses Owens, Jr. on drums. “Robert added such beautiful fabric to the music. Marvin was overflowing with genius and Keith helped me to find all the “right” things like a mad scientist,” Abiah explains.
Lionel Loueke is a different type of musician. Not bound by the conventional techniques and thought processes, Loueke has pursued music his entire life through an entirely original set of eyes. Even upon moving from Benin to Paris and on to Boston where where he was exposed to the history behind the music he pursued, Loueke managed to keep his mind open to the endless possibilities the music allowed him and that has translated into an unmatched sense of originality, rhythmic innovation, and musical bliss. On August 28th, 2012 Lionel will release his most recent endeavor entitled “Heritage” which features co-proudcer and pianist Robert Glasper, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Mark Guiliana.
In a special one-night, RSVP-only event, Robert Glasper, Pino Palladino, and Chris “Daddy” Dave will be taking it down together at Ginny’s Supper Club at the Red Rooster in Harlem this Thursday 8/16/12.
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.
Check out some footage from the Robert Glasper Experiment’s secret show in Brooklyn last Friday. In this clip Alan Hampton and Robert Glasper perform a duet together. And if you missed this show, be sure to catch the Robert Glasper Experiment for a free show during SummerStage on August 7th at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem.
The next few months look to be shaping up pretty busy for Robert Glasper. First on the 20th of June, Glasper and The Experiment will be performing their cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the Jimmy Fallon Show. Glasper will also be sitting in with The Roots for the entirety of the show. Then on July 1, BET will be holding its 12th Annual Award Ceremony in which Robert is nominated for a Centric Award. Moving forward to July 7th, The Robert Glasper Experiment will be performing in New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival along with D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, and more.
Catch up on some feature articles, media, news, and events from this week that you missed while also checking out our featured events for the coming weeks.
As further proof that Robert Glasper has cemented himself this year as one of the true innovators of Black American Music, BET has announced him as a nominee in the “Centric” category for their 2012 awards along with Common, Estelle, Robin Thicke, and Tyrese. The nomination signifies a changing view on how jazz, hip-hop, and all of Black American Music is defined and experienced. Check out the full list of nominees and awards below and be sure to tune into the awards show hosted by the great Samuel L. Jackson.
Acclaimed and inventive guitarist, songwriter, vocalist Lionel Loueke will drop his latest endeavor, Heritage, August 28, 2012 on Blue Note Records. The album is co-produced by Robert Glasper who is also featured on piano with Derrick Hdoge on electric bass and Mark Guiliana on drums. Gretchen Parlato also adds in her flavor with some background vocals. In total, Heritage will feature seven compositions by Loueke, two by Glasper, and one co-written by the two of them. The title comes from Lionel’s personal ancestry.
He’s modern jazz. He’s innovative. He’s the future… I feel as though Robert has that baton – the baton that 20 years ago Bill Laswell and Herbie Hancock had in their hands runnin’ with it and all that came after it. His jazz chops are so on the ball they can start doing real progressive things! They can take those J Dilla chords and apply them to 7/8 meter. Especially when The Experiment is performing… they’re really doing some aggressive rhythmic stuff together. They’re really applying a lot of polyrhythms that really haven’t been executed before in hip hop or jazz. -Questlove on Robert Glasper
It seems the radio is a popular subject this season. After the release of Black Radio I asked myself, “What could album could possibly distract me from listening to this?” Alas NPR has graced us with a First Listen of Esperanza Spalding’s widely anticipated Radio Music Society. Sit back and take a listen:
What an amazing time for music! Glasper has been a household name within the jazz community for almost 10 years now and the music has always been deserving of more and to be known by the masses. Glasper figured out a way to bring jazz to commercial audiences and this is only the beginning. Check out The Robert Glasper Experiment performing on David Letterman featuring guests Bilal and Lupe Fiasco. Musicians include Derrick Hodge (Bass), Casey Benjamin (Vocoder/ Vocals) and Mark Colenburg (Drums).
I think it’s just different with jazz. Once you decide you’re going to do jazz, you realize it’s going to take you your whole life to do anything original and to get to a level that’s anywhere close to Ella, or Miles or any of these people, stylistically. I think anybody who thinks they’re, like, soaking in right away, is just not going to last long in jazz. It’s a whole different mindset. I wasn’t thinking about making a record, because I didn’t have anything original to say. I just wanted to learn the standards, and that takes years of practice and jam sessions and buying real books and trying to figure out what people are doing. It’s like trying to unlock a code.