Robert Glasper: No Worries
Robert Glasper (piano)
Double Booked (Blue Note 94244)
Composed by Robert Glasper.
Recorded: Brooklyn, no date given (CD released in 2009)
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
On his high-profile new CD Double Booked, Robert Glasper draws on jazz and hip-hop elements. But what should we infer from the fact that he keeps them segregated on separate tracks? In the past, jazz artists created a fusion of different genres, but here is it really a juxtaposition. How would fans have responded if Miles had mixed songs from Bitches Brew with extracts from Live at the Plugged Nickel on a single LP? Yet Glasper's results here are intriguing, if inevitably disjunctive.
This track falls into the jazz camp, and is a high energy outing by Glasper's acoustic trio, with nary a sample or scratch anywhere to be found. There is much to admire here. The trio plays with coherence and flexibility, and I especially like how Chris Dave adjusts his dynamics to the development of the performance. Glasper has a strong, clean touch on the instrument, and his right hand lines are well-conceived. But his left hand comping relies too much, for my tastes, on an oft-repeated suspended sound—a hip combination of notes that the pianist uses over and over. Didn't McCoy Tyner show us long ago that you could play a whole song on a single chord, yet impart variety and texture by employing dozens of different voicings? But this track has plenty of drive to compensate, and Glasper's solo effectively builds to a climax before easing down again into its appealing melody. I'll give it high marks, especially for the pacing, but I wonder what the hip-hop crowd will think of it.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia
Tags: piano trio