Robert Glasper Experiment - Black RadioBlue Note
Back in 2007, The Robert Glasper trio dropped subtle hints that this album was coming. It was the track “J Dillalude” from “In My Element” where he succeeded where many have failed; seamlessly merging Jazz and Hip-Hop. He came one step closer on “Double Booked” where the Experiment Band went half jazz and experimental grooves rooted in soul and Hip-Hop. Now on “Black Radio” the band takes the kid gloves off and delivers an album that pushes the boundaries across genres and will appear on many playlist throughout the year. It doesn’t hurt when you have an all-star lineup that features Erykah Badu, Yasin Bey (aka Mos Def), Bilal and many more. Among the highlights are Lalah Hathaway’s sultry vocals on Sade’s “Cherish The Day”. The trio King adds their heavenly vocals to the uplifting “More Love”. As for the instrumentals, well there aren’t any but one of the great ingredients of this record is the musicianship of the Experiment band radiates through all the compositions. Take for instance Ledisi’s version of “FTB” (Gonna Be Alright) is supported by the wondrous melodies painted by Glasper and the grooves thrown down by bassist Derrick Hodge will keep you in constant head nod mode. So if you were looking for a jazz record you might be disappointed. Instead what you have here is the template for 21st century soul music. This is a superb record in which soul and hip-hop collide with jazz as the glue that holds everything together. The result is an early candidate for album of the year.
Reg Dancy, 04/12