The Robert Glasper Experiment, the definition is in the name. The ongoing mission to “make jazz cool again”, to bridge the gap between the older classic jazz fans and the younger soul and hip hop generation that wouldn’t otherwise attend a Jazz show.
Robert Glasper is accomplishing just that; with the success of his Crossover album “Black Radio” Robert Glasper and company fused Jazz with hip-hop and soul. Black Radio Two is on the way October 28th, and if your not already a fan… here are ten facts about Robert Glasper that just may tempt you to throw a few songs in your playlist.
The Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio debuted at number fifteen on the billboard charts and was nominated for two Grammys. What is even more impressive is the fact that Black Radio is the first Jazz album to debut on three different charts. The album was number 1 on the jazz charts, number 4 on the hip hop/ R&B charts and also placed on the adult contemporary charts. It’s also the first jazz album to receive more then 50% of it’s sales on iTunes, which stands for proof that a younger audience is listening.
The Title “Black Radio” was adapted from the Black radios that are found in airplanes. The Black Radio is the only thing that survives in a plane crash and tells the story of what happened in the crash. Robert looks at his music as a time capsule for his generation. “Real music that is going to last” and tells the story long after he’s gone.
I think we can all relate to a period of time when we were searching for our identities. When I was in the ninth grade I thought I was going to be the next Deion Sanders, until I reality set in that I stood at 5’9 and 120 pounds. When asked about his basketball career,Robert replied with “yea that didn’t work out.”.
Robert Glasper taught himself to play music at the age of eleven on a broken organ at a church where his mother worked as the music director.
In his sophomore year of high school Glasper transferred to PVA school of performing arts in Houston. He walked the halls with several other successful musicians including Beyoncé, and his best friend Michael Brian Cox who has written and produced songs for Mary J. Blige, Usher and Mariah Carry among others.
Both on Jazz scholarships, Glasper and recording artist Bilal met and became the best of friends at New York’s New School University. Bilal would sign a record deal with Interscope records and bring Glasper on as his music director. Glasper served as Bilal’s music Director for seven years.
Robert Glasper was the first Instumentalist artist in six years to be sighed to Blue note records. The label is also home to artist such as Norah Jones Whom Glasper met at a Jazz camp while in highschool.
Front man of the band Casey Benjamin plays the vocoder not to be confused with auto-tune, the Vocoder is an actual instrument. Casey’s main inspiration for not only the vocoder, but also doing music in General Is Herby Hancock. Herbie Hancock popularized the vocoder in the eighties.
In 1994 Casey was selected in high school to meet and play a duet with Jazz great Grover Washington on the local news in his West Virginia home.