Robert Glasper Trio | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Robert Glasper Trio Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Thu., March 24, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., March 25, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., March 26, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., March 27, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2011

Pianist Robert Glasper named his most recent album, 2009's Double Booked (Blue Note), as a nod to his old bad habit of scheduling two gigs at once. More meaningfully, though, it [image-1]refers to the two sides of his musical personality. The first half of the album showcases his acoustic trio; on the flip, his electric quartet the Experience plays a gritty mix of jazz, soul, and hip-hop. But ultimately the groups aren't that far apart. The Experience's stuttery funk recalls the rhythmic template developed by hip-hop producer J Dilla; Glasper (on Fender Rhodes), electric bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Chris Dave play with the groove like they're using a computer to cut and paste beats, while guests like Mos Def and Bilal pitch in on vocals and saxophonist Casey Benjamin sometimes sings through a vocoder. The acoustic tracks, on which upright bassist Vicente Archer replaces Hodge, superficially sound more like mainstream jazz, but their rhythmic malleability recalls the volatility of the Experience's pieces, with accents and tempos in constant flux beneath the pianist's glassy, soulful playing. I find some of Glasper's melodies a bit treacly, but his skill is undeniable. The way he rips through Monk's "Think of One," veering from stride to Monk-style refraction to mainstream swing and incorporating the same quote from Ahmad Jamal's "Swahililand" that Dilla sampled for De La Soul's "Stakes Is High," leaves no doubt about his ability to reconcile jazz tradition with contemporary soul and hip-hop. For these shows he's joined by Hodge and drummer Mark Colenburg. Pianist Robert Glasper named his most recent album, 2009's Double Booked (Blue Note), as a nod to his old bad habit of scheduling two gigs at once. More meaningfully, though, it [image-1]refers to the two sides of his musical personality. The first half of the album showcases his acoustic trio; on the flip, his electric quartet the Experience plays a gritty mix of jazz, soul, and hip-hop. But ultimately the groups aren't that far apart. The Experience's stuttery funk recalls the rhythmic template developed by hip-hop producer J Dilla; Glasper (on Fender Rhodes), electric bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Chris Dave play with the groove like they're using a computer to cut and paste beats, while guests like Mos Def and Bilal pitch in on vocals and saxophonist Casey Benjamin sometimes sings through a vocoder. The acoustic tracks, on which upright bassist Vicente Archer replaces Hodge, superficially sound more like mainstream jazz, but their rhythmic malleability recalls the volatility of the Experience's pieces, with accents and tempos in constant flux beneath the pianist's glassy, soulful playing. I find some of Glasper's melodies a bit treacly, but his skill is undeniable. The way he rips through Monk's "Think of One," veering from stride to Monk-style refraction to mainstream swing and incorporating the same quote from Ahmad Jamal's "Swahililand" that Dilla sampled for De La Soul's "Stakes Is High," leaves no doubt about his ability to reconcile jazz tradition with contemporary soul and hip-hop. For these shows he's joined by Hodge and drummer Mark Colenburg; see also Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 8 and 10 PM, Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth Ct., 312-360-0234, $20. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20

Add a review

Rating

Select a star to rate.