Robert Glasper, the highly talented pianist/record producer who refuses to be typecast as just a jazz artist, is stirring up the jazz and hip hop community yet again. Earlier this year he had fans grooving to his critically acclaimed album Black Radio, which blurred the lines between jazz, hip hop, R&B, and alternative music. And he had critics scratching their heads trying to figure out just how to classify his unique approach to the historical art form.
Now, he’s giving fans an even more raw version of the popular album in the form of Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP, which hits stores October 9.
The album consists of six tracks from Black Radio, which have been remixed and feature beats and vocals from some very prominent members of the hip hop community.
They include 9th Wonder, who is deemed a scholar on hip hop music and is a die hard advocate for black music. He’s worked with everyone from Mary J. Blige to Jay-Z and he brings his talented beat making skills to the jazz classic “Afro Blue,” featuring Eryakah Badu. In this “Blue Light Basement” remix, the beat is slowed down a bit, but still consists of a heavy bass line and smooth rap verse by Phonte. For the title track, Glasper enlisted the help of jazz rap king Pete Rock, who beefs up the beats of the tune along with the free styling vocals of yasiin bey (formerly Mos Def).
Whenever you get a jazz rap session together, best believe The Roots won’t be far behind, and their presence is definitely felt on this album, especially on the sexy, soul driven tune “Twice/ ?estlove’s Twice Baked Remix” featuring Solange Knowles on vocals. ?uestlove’s gift of accompanying hip hop artists on drums is evident on this track as he provides the rhythm and Glasper churns out a soulful, melodic solo on piano towards the end of the track.
Glasper also pays homage to famed record producer J Dilla with the futuristic hip hop joint “Dillatude.”
For anyone who knows about Glasper or who has seen him in concert, you know that he has a lot of respect for producer J Dilla, who is widely known as one of the greatest beat makers in hip hop music. Glasper worked with Dilla throughout his career and even dedicated a track to him on his previous album, In My Element called “Dillatude.” where he plays piano over a medley of Dilla beats.
He revamps the original and has fellow Robert Glasper Experiment member Casey Benjamin on vocoders singing Dilla produced tracks such as Common’s popular hit “The Light.”
If you dug Black Radio and are still banging the album eight months later, then you’ll enjoy the remixed album, which continues Glasper’s goal of further bridging the gap between jazz and other musical genres.
He does what other jazz greats have done in the past: expound on this rich musical tradition in an attempt to change the way people view and experience jazz. He’s doing what Art Blakey and Lee Morgan did in the 50s with hard bop, and what Miles Davis and Chick Corea did with jazz fusion.
Check out a few tracks from the new album: