Jazz/hip-hop pianist Robert Glasper has been working overtime to drag jazz kicking and screaming into the 21st century. He put out the groundbreaking Black Radio earlier this year; the rare jazz record that doesn't just aim to push the genre forward, but actually succeeds. Not satisfied to have merely found a new avenue for jazz after decades of mainstream stagnation, Glasper is back with the Black Radio Recovered EP. It's a collection of remixed tracks from Black Radio, including the sexy atmospheric “The Consequences of Jealousy” (remixed by Georgia Anne Muldrow).
The remix adds a driving beat and an electro-funk bassline for maximum soul. Meshell Ndegeocello's voice shimmers under waves of effects. “No tears for you” she chants with just a hint of sadness. It continues the focus on atmosphere and composition over shows of virtuosity that makes the Robert Glasper Experiment so revolutionary. Where modern jazz can sometimes feel more athletic than musical (oh you can play “Giant Steps” at 300 bpm? Cool. But can you play it with soul that fast?), Glasper and co are smart to keep the focus on sound and feeling. The few solos that there are on this EP (and don't get me wrong, they are virtuoso solos) are always in service of the song. It seems Glasper hasn't just learned from hip-hop, he's taken a lesson or two from punk rock too.
The full EP comes out October 9th, but you can pre-order it now from iTunes.
- Words by Nathan Leigh