2009 album from the Jazz pianist and composer, his third for the esteemed Blue Note Records label.
Robert Glasper is a man of many talents. Certainly, he's both an inarguably accomplished jazz pianist and a first-rate composer. But what Glasper does best is pick drummers. With 2007's In My Element
, he provided Damion Reid with a platform to record nothing less than the drum performance of the year. For this album, Glasper teams up with Chris Dave, and the results are astonishing. It's a concept album, sort of. The first half features the Trio (Glasper, Dave, and bassist Vicente Archer) on a handful of originals and a take on Thelonius Monk's "Think of One." Throughout, the piano and drums intertwine with a complex integrity that sounds deceptively effortless. Then comes the Experiment: Derrick Hodge replaces Archer with an electric bass; Casey Benjamin adds saxes and vocoder; Bilal and Mos Def drop in for vocal cameos. The Experiment's five tracks differ in texture and depth from the Trio's set, but the adventurousness of the performances and the gorgeous lyricism of Dave's drumming fuse the album's halves into a single musical statement that makes for the year's best jazz album so far. --Jason Kirk