on March 3, 2012
Jazz for the new millennium - excellently done! Someone here said their mother was 55 and didn't think the drumbeats appropriate for jazz. Well I'm 56 and I think everything about this cd is slammin! It harkens back to the progressive jazz days when guys like Lonnie Listen Smith, Roy Ayers, and George Duke were doing some amazing things. There's always been a dispute between jazz purists and jazz progressives. Miles Davis made a progressive album (Man With The Horn) and you would've thought the universe had turned upside down. Good music is good music, and this cd is some seriously good music.
on February 28, 2012
There was wonderful renaissance of neo-soul music that peaked in the 90s and was a wonderful soundtrack for the lives of urban contemporary music lovers. Robert Glasper is undoubtedly and purely inspired by the music of that era. A hybrid of soft jazz, hip-hop, and R&B, Black Radio is the soul music lover's 'Hearts of Space' odyssey. It is the F.M. dial to beautiful music that I could not recommend more highly.
He has drawn in some of the most respected musicians (Lalah Hathaway, Lupe Fiasco, Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Bilal to name a few) to contribute their talents to what will be one of my favorite albums this year. I hate to highlight any songs in particular because the entire album is consistently wonderful from beginning to end - so I won't.
It's intriguing that two of my favorite musicians, Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding, are releasing CDs this year with the word 'radio' in the albums' titles. (Esperanza's CD is entitled 'Radio Music Society'). With so much music becoming popular based on spectacle and ridiculous antics (as he touches upon at the end of "Gonna Be Alright"), it's refreshing and reassuring that artists like these are keeping the focus on musicianship. Black Radio is Robert Glasper at his best!
on February 28, 2012
I've always had an admiration of artists who attempt to cross the boundaries of their genre and venture out of their comfort zone to indulge in something new and exciting, not only for them but for their audience as well. This admiration is punctuated by the fact that not everyone who does this is successful at it. In fact, in my experience I've seen more failures and mediocre offerings then I have anything else (see The Hip Hop Violinist [Explicit]). That being said, Robert Glasper's Black Radio has definitely taken its place among the ranks of high quality music.
Being new to Robert Glasper, I admit that I was drawn in by the promise of the plethora of guest appearances by familiar faces, such as Musiq Soul Child, Lela Hathaway, Lupe Fiasco, Yassin Bey (aka Mos Def), Erykah Badu, Ledisi, and Bilal. Fortunately, I found that Glasper's ability to tastefully spread out the various talents found on this project is worthy of praise. With twelve different guest artists on an album, it can easily start to feel crowded like there's too much going on at once. Instead, what we're given as the final product is a euphoric blend of Jazz, Neo-Soul and Hip Hop that I can cool out to in the car with my speakers up, or vibe to at a live performance.
Each song seemed to be tailored (and most likely was) to the individual artists that appeared on them, but still making it very clear in its sound that this was Robert Glasper's album, not a compilation of sounds taken from different places. The integrity of Glasper's work is never compromised of overshadowed by any of the guest artists, only accentuated by energy their voices bring to each track. From beginning to end, it feels like listening to a live set that you don't want to leave your seat for.
Being primarily a Hip Hop head, I was particularly interested in how Lupe and Mos Def would be incorporated into the music, since both have stepped into the realms beyond their genre's as well. Thankfully, their presence was utilized well, making their performances sound genuinely organic. I found Mos's track "Black Radio" especially interesting, as he seemed very much at home from what I've heard from him in past works (see New Danger which is full of examples). Staying true to the idea of this being an "experiment," both Mos and the intstrumentation fly off in the the stratosphere playing off each other with varying tempos and vocal play from Mos himself that I find hard to describe in any other way but "interesting." By no means is it a bad thing, just worthy of note, and clearly he makes the track his own.
Overall, Black Radio is a solid body of work, fluid in its composition yet bold enough to make you stay and listen. Robert Glasper, despite being labeled simply as a Jazz musician, has successfully achieved crossing genre's and bringing different elements back to his own realm, giving us new and unique music to enjoy that will not disapoint. Having been thoroughly impressed by his latest work, I'll definitely be checking out his earlier stuff as well, and I'd encourage anyone else to do the same. Enjoy.
on February 28, 2012
I received a review copy of this album a while ago, and have been highly recommending it ever since!
Robert Glasper is one of those rare musicians with the uncanny ability to see beyond what has been done and get straight to the heart of what is possible. He was once described as "one of the most promising Jazz pianists for a generation", and this album sees him enter a class of his own!
'Black Radio' represents a "a true crossover record", as Glasper himself put it. It's an amalgam of all the Jazz, Gospel, Soul, and Hip Hop traditions Glasper was raised in. With his Experiment band Casey Benjamin (Sax), Derrick Hodge (Bass), and Chris Dave (Drums), Glasper's `Black Radio' represents a clear progression from his fragmented 2009 offering `Double Booked', which saw half an album dedicated to Jazz and half to Hip Hop. These half-hearted attempts to incorporate Hip Hop into his music appear to be a thing of the past as he embraces all of his influences for his third Blue Note offering, which is sure to serve as an example of how Jazz/Hip Hop crossover should be done.
Glasper and his cohort are individuals pigeon-holed as `Jazz Musicians' that have now proven their reach beyond that or any other Genre. Tasteful isn't a word that can be used to describe many cross-over albums, but it is perfect in this case. Concessions are made in all the right places to ensure that perceptions and expectations are thrown out of the window in favor of the only thing that matters - The quality of The Music.
More Here: [...]
on April 9, 2013
Okay this is a great albulm, however, There are certain songs that are completly ruined by the annoying talking sessions at the end of the song, it completly kills the groove. They should have put the speaking sessions as seperate tracks. After the first time of hearing the sessions, it is enough. If you put your favorite song on repeat, you have to hear them talking at the end of the song.
on May 15, 2013
I wasn't sure what to expect when I ordered this CD earlier this year. I'd read the rave reviews and was intrigued, but I'd never heard anything by Glasper previously, and I'm not much of a hip-hop fan. But I love the old Blue Note jazz albums and am a huge fan of 60s and 70s soul, totally worship genre-bending artists like Gil Scott-Heron, as well listen to tons of pop and rock music. So, I have pretty broad tastes in music and thought: why not take a chance on this one? Well, I don't love it all, but I like the mix of musical styles and the daring way that Glasper presents everything on this album. To my ears there's not much jazz on here, but then again that depends on how you define the genre. Instead, this is like an urban music buffet: a bit of hip-hop, some jazz touches, a lot of soul grooves, and a bit of rock (he does some interesting covers of songs by David Bowie and Nirvana, as well as jazzier tunes by Sade and Mongo Santamaria). At times, Glasper's piano is unneccessarly buried under a wall of beats and vocals, but other times, his subtle riffs are easier to hear, and appreciate. Favorites on this CD include the lovely "Cherish the Day," the soaring "Why Do We Try" with vocals by Stokley, and the clever cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Listen to this album with an open mind and you'll find these songs becoming part of your soul. Quite impressive
on April 7, 2015
Robert Glasper offers his unique vision and sound of contemporary black music. Black Radio fuses various styles, such as hip-hop, rap, programming, techno, soul, and R&B into something that at once is recognizably Jazz and at the same time defies any definition. Angelika Beener wrote in the liner notes that Black Radio represents the veracity of black music. Flying with own wing, while standing on the shoulders of predecessor, drives the best innovation. The songs, a mix of Glasper originals and co-writes with both the Experiment and some of the featured artists, sound pleasantly to ears. Poised Glasper’s play creates soothing effect. Never heard airy sang “Afro Blue” before. Erykan Badu sublimates an earthy number into a celestial music. “Cherish The Day” is given a fantastic arrangement and Lalah Hathaway adds something new and fresh to the popular Sade song. King’s singing voice is transparent and beautiful in her co-written “Move Love.” Glasper plays emotionally against up-tempo drum sticks in African taste brimful “Why Do We Try.” Glasper takes up David Bowie’s “Letter To Hermione,” shows fine solo against marching rhythm. The last song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” resonants as if coming from the universe or deep sea. Couldn’t find enough positive words for this adventurous record of the 21st century.
on December 21, 2014
I admit to being infatuated with this when it first came out, but that opinion hasn't held up over time and two years on I don't enjoy listening to it, and not because it wore out its welcome - it is, as others have commented, a fairly ho-hum album. The most adventurous cut, one that still appeals to me, is the remake of Bowie's "Letter to Hermione," one of his lesser known compositions from 1969. Glasper succeeds in infusing it with more emotion and warmth than Bowie's slightly chilly original. To a slightly lesser extent, the vocal section of the next track, a re-make of "Smell's Like Teen Spirit" also shows Glasper's more adventurous side, demonstrating how jazz can imbue popular songs with new feeling, before it meanders off in the instrumental section. But beyond that, it's an easy listening r&b album with jazz stylings, good for background when you have guests who aren't really into jazz, but not likely to stand the test of time -- in contrast to Sade's original version of "Cherish," which has and will.
on April 13, 2012
This CD is REAL MUSIC. This is a great R&B,Jazz,Rock and Neo Soul ensemble piece. Many of my favorite current underground divas take part on this one. Lalah Hathaway's take of Sade's "Cherish The Day" is fierce (for lack of a better word). I have played it repeatedly on my commute to work. The every changing and crazy Erykah Badu delivers an awesome "Afro Blues". She does slow grooves best. Stay there crazy Badu and just maybe you'll become what you think you are. (TRUTH) I am having fun with this one y'all. For real, I do truly enjoy this mesh of music. MUSIC MUSIC finally MUSIC! It is really music in 2012! 'bout &*^%#! TIME! This year has been pitiful. The US releases are WEAK and very BAD. "Nicky Menage-A-Trois" is BS! I won't go on. GD! Today's no-talent required,just be cute (and slutty) on camera music scene is awful! Shame on the major labels (so few US owned anymore). Nearly all I have seen and heard of late is BS!
on May 14, 2016
Amazing Album! This album is a beautiful lend of soul, jazz, and a little sprinkle of hip hop. Love it. Perfect for background music when folks come over. Or, just throw it on when chilling in the house. Beautiful vocals accompany the laid back, inventive music. BUY THIS ALBUM!!!!