Robert Glasper. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

toggle caption
John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Robert Glasper.

John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Live At The Village Vanguard

Robert Glasper TrioWBGO

Robert Glasper Trio: Live At The Village Vanguard

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131722844/131932741" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The line on Robert Glasper recently is that he's a jazz musician who also works intensely with top hip-hop and R&B artists: Maxwell, Q-Tip, Mos Def and so forth. That narrative came to the fore around the time of his 2009 album Double Booked, which showcased his ability to fuse his distinct aesthetics. But he's still very much a jazz pianist, committed to the improvising community. Glasper is a fount of supple, flowing lines, and his piano trio is a shape-shifting, communicative unit.

His group certainly passes muster at that New York jazz bastion, the Village Vanguard. WBGO and NPR Music were there to record the Robert Glasper Trio in concert, in a live radio broadcast and simultaneous webcast on Wednesday, Dec. 8. Revisit this page for the live streaming audio and the archived recording.

Glasper is a ruminative pianist, often letting sostenuto melodies simmer with a few extra grace notes or broken arpeggios for color, probing his way through moody harmonies. In concert, his trio is highly flexible, apt to change directions or follow tangents on a mid-song whim. In his opening tune, he quoted two Christmas songs, and at least one J. Dilla beat. Elsewhere, he dedicated one song to the recently ailing piano giant Mulgrew Miller, took on a late '60s Herbie Hancock tune and crowd-sourced his last number, the original "Yes I'm Country (And That's OK)."

His concept works because he always picks out musicians who can follow and add feedback effortlessly. Also participating in the gig were Vicente Archer, his longtime associate on bass, and Jamire Williams, who commands a wide percussive vocabulary at a young age.

Originally, Glasper hails from Houston; he found his way to New York to study music in college. But the first close friend he made was the soul singer Bilal, then a fellow jazz student. So while Glasper was learning straight-ahead jazz, he was also accruing professional opportunities in the world of hip-hop and neo-soul. Prospects have improved for him in both veins since then; when he wasn't promoting Double Booked, his third album for Blue Note Records, he was on the road with the singer Maxwell.

He may be of two musical worlds, but Glasper commands the highest respect in each. Not all pianists can book a residency at the Village Vanguard, but this broadcast marked his second week at the club this year.

Set List
  • "G&B" (Glasper)
  • "One For 'Grew" (Glasper)
  • "I Have A Dream" (Hancock)
  • "[Unknown]" (Glasper)
  • "Yes I'm Country (And That's OK)" (Glasper)
Personnel
  • Robert Glasper, piano
  • Vicente Archer, bass
  • Jamire Williams, drums
Credits
  • Josh Jackson, producer and host
  • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
  • Garrett Nichols, production assistant
  • Simon Rentner, production assistant
  • Michael Downes, production assistant
  • Lara Pellegrinelli, moderator
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Lee Musiker is featured in this episode of Piano Jazz. Steve J. Sherman/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Steve J. Sherman/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Lee Musiker On Piano Jazz

The conductor and pianist performs "Fascinating Rhythm" and other standards with Marian McPartland.

Lee Musiker In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/496086653/496125582" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cecilia Smith is Marian McPartland's guest in this episode of Piano Jazz. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Cecilia Smith On Piano Jazz

The acclaimed vibraphonist solos on "Mourning Before Grace," a piece dedicated to her mother.

Cecilia Smith On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495170641/495179845" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Leonard Feather. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Leonard Feather On Piano Jazz

The "Dean of Jazz Journalists," also a pianist, performs original blues tunes in a 1988 session.

Leonard Feather In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/494127206/494221093" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Oliver Jones. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Oliver Jones On Piano Jazz

The Canadian pianist plays "Jordio" and "Three Little Words" in a 1990 session.

Oliver Jones In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/493257788/493262078" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Walter Davis, Jr., on the cover of Davis Cup. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Walter Davis Jr. On Piano Jazz

The great bebop pianist joined Marian McPartland for this session shortly before his death in 1990.

Walter Davis Jr. In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/492390537/492391202" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Don Cheadle stars as Miles Davis in the film Miles Ahead. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

toggle caption Sony Pictures Classics

Jazz Night In America

Three Miles Ahead

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

On screen, ink, and stage with actor Don Cheadle, writer Quincy Troupe and trumpeter Keyon Harrold.

Three Miles Ahead

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491558852/491559806" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cecile McLorin Salvant and Sullivan Fortner. Mark Fitton/Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Mark Fitton/Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artists

Jazz Night In America

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Two rising stars of their instruments duet at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491556926/491558723" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Norah Jones. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS hide caption

toggle caption Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Norah Jones On Piano Jazz

The smoky-voiced singer reinvents standards like "The Nearness Of You" in a 2003 session.

Marian McPartland In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491481080/491483313" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marty Napoleon. Wikimedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption Wikimedia Commons

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Marty Napoleon On Piano Jazz

Hear the pianist, who once played with Louis Armstrong's All Stars, duet with Marian McPartland.

Marty Napoleon In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/490624621/490631097" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top