Wednesday, 19 November 2008

In His Element - Robert Glasper on fire


Last night at Cargo we prayed at the altar of the Robert Glasper Trio – a holy triumvate if ever I saw one. I’ve had that twinkly-eyed ‘I’ve-seen-wonders’ look ever since.

I don’t do church and I hate to make the churchy references but theres no other way to describe the reverence the crowd had for them and the supernatural finesse, eleMENTAL power and prowess of their playing. We gasped at switches that could only have been realised through ESP, we swayed to the lush lyrical soul-full melodies of Glasper’s Fender Rhodes, screwface at heartfelt clustered chords, we were eyes full of incredulous bliss as drummer Chris Dave defied all laws of physics busting time, space and sound. From the pensive and mesmerising to the humourous (banter and diversion into a Bette Midler homage ‘The Rose’ – leaving the drummer just shaking his head) to downright funky and glitchy beats that’d make most hip hop producers weep.

His music is challenging enough to get your teeth into yet accessible enough to resonate long after listening. Its music that’s unafraid and to me that’s where the magic happens. A gorgeous example came in his Herbie Hancock/Radiohead mash-up of “Maiden Voyage/Everything in Its Right Place”. The whole set was so instinctive and fluid that thinking in terms of genres like jazz, soul, hip hop(to name a few) seemed obsolete - they play like its music from nowhere but the heart.

With an all-star roster of collaborations that includes the likes of Dilla, Meshell Ndegeocello, Common, Q-Tip, Jay-Z, Erykah Badu and Carmen Lundy under the belt before he even hit 30 (does the man sleep?!) and his 4th album due out in Spring 08 – he’s on fire. It doesn’t matter what kind of ‘head’ you are: In My Element on Blue Note – get it, got it, good!

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