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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Blue Note Records

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Canvas is pianist Robert Glasper's second recording, and his first on Blue Note. He's joined by bassist Vincente Archer and drummer Damion Reid for the main portion of Canvas, while tenor Mark Turner and vocalist Bilal make two appearances each. Perhaps the first thing a listener might note of Glasper's style on the original, "Rise and Shine," is its rich, melodic flavor. While this lyricism alone would draw the listener in, it's Glasper's ability to develop new ideas as the piece progresses, adding complexity to his lyricism, that really recommends his approach. In the case of the title cut, Glasper and company keep the composition intriguing for nearly ten minutes. It's also nice on Canvas that both Archer and Reid match Glasper's adventurousness, providing an intricate net that both supports his solos and drives them onward. Turner blends effortlessly into the band on the title cut and Herbie Hancock's "Riot," adding a slightly bigger sound and turning in fine lead work. The vocals come rather late in the program on tracks seven and ten, and are not typically what one might expect from vocals (even in jazz). Instead, Bilal's wordless drone, hum, and smooth choral backing mixes like an additional instrument that adds another textural element to the music. Canvas also sounds great, and producer Eli Wolf has done a fine job putting these elements together into an organic whole. Canvas is both melodic and adventurous, and will please both Glasper's fans and anyone who appreciates good piano jazz. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
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Jazz - Released June 16, 2015 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Four months after winning his second Grammy Award in the R&B category for Black Radio 2, pianist Robert Glasper re-assembles the acoustic jazz trio that played on his first two Blue Note recordings. Bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid assist the pianist in a live audience recording from Capitol's famed Studio A. Covered is far from a return to an acoustic piano trio for Glasper. Instead, it's an acoustic approach to the directions he employed on his early Blue Note dates, and the R&B and hip-hop engagements on Black Radio. With the redo of "I Don't Even Care," Black Radio 2 commences with a nearly elliptical air, but Reid's skittering snare creates a dance rhythm while Archer's bassline plays the changes and tastefully fills Glasper's ever widening melodic circle. With post-bop flourishes, he nonetheless remains close to the harmonic center, uncovering its richness in the process. The rhythm section's intro to Radiohead's "Reckoner" is lithe and almost funky before Glasper uses the melody's limited palette as a circular, restrained, yet emotionally moving exploration of its possibilities. The album's centerpiece is the 13-minute "In Case You Forgot." It begins with a knotty, angular solo piano intro (check "Silly Rabbit" from 2007's In My Element), with single-note syncopations and mid-register arpeggios cascading around a four-note bassline with classical embellishments. When the rhythm section enters, they weave jazz standards and modern pop songs together -- from Freddie Hubbard's "Up Jumped Spring" and Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" to Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," among others -- with sharp, sudden cuts from Glasper before they all climb headlong into their own sprint. Scattered throughout the set is Glasper's sincere but wry dialogue with his audience. A considerable strength from the trio is their ability to translate the appeal of neo-soul ballads such as Musiq (Soulchild)'s "So Beautiful," Jhené Aiko's "The Worst," and Bilal's "Levels" as jazz, even equating them with standards. An example is "Stella by Starlight," whose canny arrangement simultaneously celebrates, decodes, and cracks open Bill Evans' lyricism atop triple-timed brushed snare -- think drum'n'bass -- and a bumping bassline. Harry Belafonte delivers an earnest, grainy, proud and poignant spoken word appearance on "Got Over." Set closer "I'm Dying of Thirst" offers a shadowy melody to a Latin-tinged tom-tom and bass groove as a children's chorus recites the names of African-Americans shot by police; it results in a statement of dignity and self-determination. Glasper's piano alternates between contemplative vamp and haunting elegy before it whispers to a finish. Covered may be a return to the acoustic piano trio, but cedes none of the ground gained by the Black Radio albums. This is Glasper refusing to be reined in by any format or artistic desire but his own. This set is welcoming, open, and warm: it invites fans of all of his musical pursuits along for the ride. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2002 | Fresh Sound Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Blue Note Records

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Contemporary Jazz - Released October 3, 2019 | Loma Vista Recordings

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Jazz - Released May 27, 2016 | Columbia - Legacy

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Blue Note Records

Pianist Robert Glasper was Blue Note's big discovery of 2005, a young player whose music fit into jazz's modern mainstream yet was open to the influences of R&B and hip-hop, both of which he had performed previously. What is particularly impressive about Glasper's playing on In My Element is that he does not sound like anyone else. Although his style does not necessarily blaze any new paths and this is a conventional if modern piano trio CD, Glasper has his own sound and approach. Bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid work very well with Glasper. The three musicians blend together perfectly and think along similar lines. While "Silly Rabbit," with its use of an answering machine message, is a little eccentric and the closing "Tribute" has excerpts from a eulogy for Glasper's mother recited by Reverend Joe Ratliff, the music in general is not so much innovative as it is a revitalization of the jazz piano trio. The thought-provoking improvisations grow in interest with each listen. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released October 3, 2019 | Loma Vista Recordings

This is not the first time he has planted dynamite on stylistic borders. In fact, Robert Glasper seems to have made it his raison d'être. Spending his time ripping off the “jazz pianist” label that has been stuck on his back, the American has paved the way for a whole generation of musicians seeking to inject jazz into soul, rap and any other genre for that matter. There is nothing prefabricated about this approach, something that becomes evident on Fuck Yo Feelings which feels more like a mixtape than a real album. It is the fruit of a few hours spent at Hollywood’s Henson Studios with a group of cherry-picked friends, who set off with no roadmap or instruction manual. The result is an improvised stream of music lasting over 70 minutes, spread across 19 tracks and featuring a rather mind-blowing line up including Yassin Bey (a.k.a. Mos Def), Bilal, Denzel Curry, Rapsody, Mick Jenkins, Terrace Martin, SiR, not forgetting the incredible Herbie Hancock, Glasper’s nearly-80-year-old idol and a true pioneer of genre fusion. Listening to Fuck Yo Feelings is like being a fly on the wall to this informal jam session; one that brings together exciting, inspired moments with more off-the-cuff and almost unfinished-seeming melodies. Given his huge talent, it is no surprise that Robert Glasper’s arrangements of these hours of jazz, soul and hip-hop recordings make for a totally exhilarating experience. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2009 | Blue Note Records

There is a certain hipness in title of Double Booked that reflects the hipness of the music itself. It hints at two voicemail messages by Terrence Blanchard and ?uestlove, respectively, that ask Robert Glasper about apparently being double booked on the same night with two different bands at different clubs. The irony in that paradox is that Glasper performs with his acoustic trio on the first half of the record, and with his Experiment on the second half. Glasper’s trio is a crack unit with Chris Dave on drums and bassist Vincente Archer. They understand where he’s at rhythmically and know how to knot things up and swing simultaneously. The expansive harmonics inherent in the album’s first two tracks -- the skittering flow on “No Worries” that takes its post-bop seriously with some amazing improvisation, and the more open, airy lyricism on “Yes I’m Country (And That’s OK)" -- are kind of opposite ends of the coin, but they're underscored and punctuated by an innovative reading of Thelonious Monk’s “Think of One” to close the trio part of the record. The Experiment's half begins as Mos Def raps over Glasper's Rhodes piano and Dave’s hip-hop drums. It expands from here with Derrick Hodge’s funky electric bass, and saxophonist’s Casey Benjamin's use of a vocoder over Dave's breakbeats. The centerpiece is the ten-minute “Festival,” an ultra-modern, funky jazz tune with some complex improvisational navigation. Glasper plays acoustic piano and Rhodes going head to head with that low-tuned funky bass and Benjamin’s outward-bound sax and spacy vocoder. Bilal joins the band on the last two cuts. He is as comfortable singing jazz and soul as he is hip-hop; he’s a kindred spirit for Glasper. “All Matter” walks on the hip-hop side of jazz, and Hodge's “Open Mind,” which makes use of Jahi Sundance’s turntablism, is a midtempo ballad drenched in experimental jazz and nu-soul as Dave practices frantic breaks inside the shimmering melodic structure. Another notable thing about Double Booked is that it was recorded completely live in the studio. This is modern jazz that extends into popular music -- without compromise. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released June 16, 2015 | Blue Note (BLU)

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Jazz - Released August 28, 2001 | Fresh Sound Records

Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2012 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released November 8, 2005 | Afrasia Productions