Design By Humans
Published On: Sat, Nov 23rd, 2013

Robert Glasper Experiment: Black Radio 2

Robert Glasper ExperimentRobert Glasper Experiment
Black Radio 2
(Blue Note Records)

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A follow-up to last year’s Grammy-winning album, Black Radio, Robert Glasper Experiment returns with the equally ambitious Black Radio 2.

Pianist-producer Robert Glasper and his band of comrades, bassist Derrick Hodge, saxophonist Casey Benjamin and new drummer Mark Colenburg, have crafted a record that fuses creativity and insight, merging jazz, soul, hip-hop and R&B into a well-crafted and beautiful record for younger and older generations to appreciate. Like its predecessor, BR2 has a host of features who bring their own unique talents: Philly songstress Jill Scott creates a sultry flair on lead single “Calls,” while singer Lalah Hathaway and spoken-word artist Malcolm-Jamal Warner share a deeper story with a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Jesus Children,” dedicated to the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. To that extent, the moods and emotions are a-plenty, from soul to jazz to poetry to hip-hop, even comedy. At the end of the Norah Jones jazz-pop cut “Let It Ride” appears singer Wayne Brady in a hilarious skit begging Glasper to be on the album.

Once more with so many artists banded together, one wonders how Glasper, 35, pulled it all off. Two words: social media. In the November issue of Essence magazine, the Houston native says he “asked artists’ fans to tweet them and say, ‘You have to be on Black Radio 2. Tweet me back and tell Robert you’re down.’” In grand fashion they showed up. UK songstress Emeli Sandé on “Somebody Else,” Common, Patrick Stump (of Fall Out Boy) and cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson on “I Stand Alone,” soul man Dwele on “Worries,” R&B crooner Anthony Hamilton on “Yet To Find” as well as R&B singer Brandy on “What Are We Doing.”

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Robert Glasper Experiment: Black Radio 2