Artists as disparate as Radiohead and Dilla donâ€™t often have the mutual and well-deserved honor of sharing writing credits on the same album, let alone on a jazz piano trio release like In My Element. It's taken an adventurous and intuitive musician, 27-year-old pianist/composer Robert Glasper, to reinvent the Jazz tradition of reworking pop standards by using source material not from the first half of the 20th century on In My Element
While the choices of â€œnew standardsâ€ on this release (Glasperâ€™s second on Blue Note) are notably diverse, his original compositionsâ€”which make up the bulk of the albumâ€”are equally far-reaching. In addition to gospel, pop, ballads, and the manifold Jazz palette, Glasperâ€™s writing and arranging clearly draws from hip-hop. More specifically, it references the innovative rhythmic feel of J-Dilla, whose recent death and music legacy has profoundly affected contemporary musicians of all stripes. At the same time, the influence here is subtle, and the overall aesthetic or â€œsoundâ€ is distinctly in the jazz piano trio tradition.
One song, â€œTribute,â€ features a recorded excerpt from Glasperâ€™s motherâ€™s eulogy, which centers around the idea that it is not her birth or death that matter but the dash in between, her life that she lived to its fullest. This becomes a good analogy for Glasperâ€™s work, which lives beautifully in the many â€œdashesâ€ he traverses. Between Radiohead and Dilla, traditional and experimental, live and programmed, old and new, dash dash dashâ€¦Pick it up from Amazon or iTunes.
by DJ Scribe