Robert Glasper Experiment: Black Radio 2

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Robert Glasper
LABELS: Blue Note
ALBUM TITLE: Black Radio 2
WORKS: Black Radio 2
PERFORMER: Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge, Casey Benjamin
CATALOGUE NO: 374 3383

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The US jazz pianist Robert Glasper recently told Down Beat magazine, ‘I feel like jazz needs a big-ass slap’. He’s tried giving it several, with the release of a series of genre bending records that have done well in the mainstream charts. With his Experiment band, Black Radio won him a Grammy in the ‘R&B’ section: a misleadingly named style of music that is a blend of smooth neo-soul and hip-hop. Black Radio 2 picks up where that left off and Glasper’s polished soundsmithing showcases over a dozen singers and rappers including Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg and Emeli Sandé. It’s a slick and ear-catching programme, where beats meet subtle jazz harmonies against high production values. But Glasper hasn’t really taken jazz any further than say, funky pianist George Duke. Like Duke and other crossover specialists, Glasper’s musicality has actually done more for mainstream music – and jazz didn’t feel a thing. 

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Garry Booth