Robert Glasper. i

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

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

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

Jacky Terrasson. Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

Back in 1995, the young pianist demonstrated extraordinary talent on standards.

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487065269/487071612" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Aaron Parks. Bill Douthart/Courtesy of ECM Records hide caption

toggle caption Bill Douthart/Courtesy of ECM Records

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Aaron Parks On Piano Jazz

The prolific pianist was still in his teens when he joined Marian McPartland for this 2001 session.

Aaron Parks In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/485228786/485229737" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Randy Weston. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Jazz Night In America

Randy Weston At 90

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The eminent pianist was the guest of honor at this year's Panama Jazz Festival.

Randy Weston At 90

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484419476/484422409" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Ray Charles and Marian McPartland. Courtesy of Vanguard hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of Vanguard

Jazz Night In America

The Ray Charles Songbook

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Trumpeter Kenny Rampton launched his career with the great performer. He presents that music live.

The Ray Charles Songbook

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484407414/484419129" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Valerie Capers. David Katzenstein/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption David Katzenstein/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Valerie Capers On Piano Jazz

The pianist and educator shows off her classical chops in a solo during "It Could Happen To You."

Valerie Capers In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484230476/484313442" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Monty Alexander. Crush Boone/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Crush Boone/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Monty Alexander On Piano Jazz

The Jamaican-born pianist, known for his rhythmic approach, joined Marian McPartland in 1991.

Monty Alexander In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/482469803/482492744" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Brandee Younger and Edmar Castañeda. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artists

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Return Of The Jazz Harp

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Brandee Younger and Edmar Castañeda are bringing the ancient instrument back to the music.

Return Of The Jazz Harp

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/482494560/482495987" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Alan Clare. Allan Warren/Wikimedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption Allan Warren/Wikimedia Commons

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Alan Clare On Piano Jazz

In 1990, the British pianist joined host Marian McPartland from the BBC's London studios.

Alan Clare On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/480295874/480633264" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dena DeRose. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Dena DeRose On Piano Jazz

In a 2001 session, the singer and pianist joined host Marian McPartland for a program of standards.

Dena DeRose On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/479740933/479741803" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top