Robert Glasper Experiment


By keepng things mostly in-house, Glasper's Experiment band present their most realized album yet.

For almost a decade, Robert Glasper has been the standard-bearer for jazz music’s fusion with hip-hop, soul, and rock, turning songs like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Radiohead’s “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box” into kinetic electro-funk mashups. With his Experiment band, Glasper, vocalist/saxophonist Casey Benjamin, drummer Mark Colenburg, and bassist Derrick Hodge tend to leapfrog different genres, making music that’s rooted in jazz and R&B and impossible to peg. “My people have given the world so many styles of music,” Glasper declares at the top of ArtScience, the Experiment’s new album. “So why should I just confine myself to one? We want to explore them all.”

ArtScience follows Black Radio 2, the band’s guest-heavy 2013 LP featuring rappers Common, Snoop Dogg and Lupe Fiasco, and singers Jill Scott and Norah Jones, among many others. On it and the band’s first Black Radio album, the Glasper Experiment mostly stayed in the background, giving room to their guests to shine atop the group’s instrumentals. The formula worked: Black Radio won the 2012 Grammy for Best R&B Album, and “Jesus Children”—a Stevie Wonder remake from Black Radio 2, featuring vocalist Lalah Hathaway and actor/poet Malcolm-Jamal Warner—won the 2014 Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

by Marcus J. Moore

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