Robert Glasper is the champion of jazz and hip-hop. Who do the hip-hop musicians go to when they need that steady riff or consistent phrase? Houston born pianist Robert Glasper. After entering the jazz world performing with the likes of Cassandra Wilson, Glasper has equally established himself as one of the main musicians for rapper/actor Mos Def, Common and A Tribe Called Quest front man Q-Tip. On this track, Glasper pays tribute to the late great hip-hop producer Jay-Dee aka J-Dilla with the song "J Dillalude." Though the nature of the song is very simple and doesn't feature much soloing, Glasper's trio cook up the perfect homage to J-Dilla, who died in 2006, with a nice blend of soulful harmonies and head nodding drum beats and bass lines. The song is a montage of different Dilla beats but features the wonderful inflections that Glasper is known for providing. A wonderful song from one of the most promising and up and coming talents in all of music.
Featuring production by hip-hop producer Scotty Hard, The Dropper
doesn't have the slickness of Friday Afternoon in the Universe
or the immediacy of Shack Man
, but has a gritty rawness that makes it stand alone in the MMW discography, for better or worse. Martin's bass drum booms and Wood is mixed way out front, giving "Partido Alto" a thumping groove that may lead to widespread cases of the spontaneous booty shakes. Long a concert favorite, this jam-friendly tune has fostered many memorable guest appearances at MMW's live shows, including jam-scene guitar hero Trey Anastasio of Phish. Sun Ra altoist Marshall Allen makes his screechy, wailing presence felt briefly on this recording, albeit bizarrely transmogrified by Hard's production. Like many extended jams, however, "Partido Alto" is a tad unfocused, though the groove is fun enough that listeners shouldn't care as soon as they are up dancing by their stereos.
marked the point where MMW began to stray from the typical organ trio format in search of a progressive and innovative sound that was solely their own. Their hip-hop influence becomes more audible here, heard heavily in Martin's streetwise beats, but most notably through the addition of turntable guru DJ Logic. MMW praised Logic's musicianship, rhythmic sense and his sensitivity as an accompanist. On "Sugar Craft," his resourcefulness and creativity are apparent as well, as he at times provides an ethereal sonic tapestry, plays off Medeski's comping, or fills gaps with well-timed rhythmic scratching and samples. Though he toured with the group for only a little over a year, Logic's influence remains strong to the present, as MMW continues to investigate the fertile boundary where jazz meets hip-hop.
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