Sunday, October 14, 2007

From the Vault: A review for Robert Glasper

I have a blog at the conservative site Townhall, which until recently I used as my main writing outlet. After a bit of tinkering around with projects using Blogger, I have finally come up with what you see now.

There were some blog articles that ran on Townhall that I am especially proud of, and I'm going to try to post some of my favorites here for people that haven't read them.

Now, I bet from looking at the above album artwork, you're guessing that Robert Glasper is a rapper or hip-hop musician. You'd be wrong in that assumption. While his biography reads that he has experienced performing hip-hop along with other genres, Glasper's In My Element is an exercise in jazz at it's rawest and most pure form.

I never would have discovered Glasper on my own. I only discovered him about a month or so ago while I was cruising through iTunes and discovered the song "One for 'Grew" being given away as that week's "Discovery Download." By most accounts jazz is if not dead at least somewhat comatose, a shadow of the swing, bebop or fusion eras, but when hearing Glasper I felt as if I were listening to a new or undiscovered recording by the likes of John Coltrane or Miles Davis.

My favorite song on the album is "Of Dreams to Come." That song creates images of romance and peace, of calmness in an urban concrete jungle. Juxtaposed with that is the first song of the album, "G&B," which speeds through and blurs you with sound in the way of classic 60s jazz albums like A Love Supreme.

Echoing John Coltrane, In My Element goes through speedy piano and rythm, backed up by superb bass. There's nothing polished or fake about it, and performs for the jazz fan, not the Top 40 listener. In an age where jazz means Norah Jones or Kenny G, hearing the real thing is truly a breath of fresh air.

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