By now you’ve probably heard of Justin Timberlake. You may have also heard that Timberlake’s album The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 is holding down the number 1 spot on the Billboard R&B charts. Or maybe you guessed. But did you know that pianist/composer phenom Robert Glasper and his quartet’s new album Black Radio II are in 2nd?
Grammy award-winning Glasper has long-been playing with R&B and hip-hop greats, from Mos Def to Maxwell, but along with saxophonist/vocalist Casey Benjamin, drummer Mark Colemburg and bassist Derrick Hodge, the Robert Glasper Experiment has found its unique sound.
And it is that infectious, often varied sound that is the focus of much debate.
On their albums, RGE blends hip hop, R&B, and jazz. On Black Radio II, they collaborate with a range of special guests from Norah Jones to Snoop Dogg to Brandy.
But typically live – as was the case when they opened the Play exhibit Wednesday night at the Sonos Studio in Los Angeles – it’s straight-ahead jazz, replete with meandering bass walks, Benjamin’s impassioned sax solos, and of course the bandleader’s signature groove.
Perhaps that’s precisely the cause for debate: RGE’s sound is so varied and still so effectively head-bobbing, people want to hear more of his jazz and his R&B.
Whichever you want, you can catch the Robert Glasper Experiment and their future-sound on their upcoming tour, or check out the single off the new album here, featuring Jill Scott: