Posts tagged: robert glasper

News

By , April 6, 2015 3:59 pm

Hi everyone!

Lots of exciting stuff happening.  Polyrhythmics just returned from 4-day west coast tour that culminated in a show at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA.  The Hall has been the site of many amazing concerts over the years, and is a beautiful room to play in.  I felt very lucky to play there!  The Polys will be going down to New Orleans for JazzFest once more at the end of this month, another place that seems like a blessing for me to visit.  I look forward to taking in as much music as I can and getting input and advice from other musicians.

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Theoretics are gearing up for several festivals this Summer, which is very exciting since the band is, to me, still pretty young, at least with its current sound, and I think there are a lot of new listeners out there that will really appreciate what we do.  Our Seattle show at the Tractor Tavern went very well, and we will be opening up for Robert Glasper on April 14 at Neumos.  I have enjoyed Glasper’s music for a while now (here’s an older post about him here ), so this is a great opportunity to maybe get a little closer experience!

Teaching is going well, although working out the education/performance balance is constantly ripe for improvement.  For the future, I am thinking of experimenting with Skype lessons while on the road, as well as keeping students more informed about what touring and performing is like.  Perhaps a mailer or more consistent blogging is in order…

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P.S.  Check out The Main Squeeze.  This is the band we shared the stage with in San Francisco.  Great stuff!

 

 

Robert Glasper at Jazz Alley

By , March 31, 2010 4:57 pm

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I’ve been a Robert Glasper fan since I first heard Canvas, his first Blue Note record, years ago, and since then I would say he’s gotten as close to “blowing up” as a jazz artist can get, releasing his third album, garnering a fair amount of press, touring with Maxwell, and continuing to play with his trio and his new quartet.  In all fairness, however, I’ve found that he was already a pretty busy guy before Canvas, playing with Terence Blanchard, Mos Def, D’Angelo, Common, J Dilla, Jaleel Shaw, and a bunch of other people.

Obviously, when Glasper came into town last week with Chris Dave on board to promote the new record Double Booked, I was excited to see the band, especially with Casey Benjamin on Alto and Vocorder as well.  In general, it was not what I expected, but, in hindsight, that’s not such a bad thing.

In all fairness, I hadn’t really checked out Double Booked like I should have before the show, and the band was performing material taken from the second half of that album.  After all, the band booked at Jazz Alley, as my dad and I observed, was not the Robert Glasper Trio, it was the Robert Glasper Experiment, a small but at the same time very important detail.  I think what threw me is that this band is not going for a conventional jazz aesthetic, and therefore the conventional roles as pianist, saxophonist, drummer, etc. do not apply.  What did this mean to me as a listener?  Well, the main difference is what Dave was doing on drums.  Throughout most of the tunes, he was moving between different divisions of the beat, displacing downbeats, and moving grooves as the rest of the group held things down.  To someone expecting a groove that would stay in one place and do the same thing repeatedly, this would be unnerving.

This shifting in the band hierarchy had implications for everyone in the band and for the music in general.  There definitely seemed to be more of a “holding it down” vibe between Glasper and bassist Derrick Hodge, at all times.  Granted, they were super tight, and the communication between Glasper, Hodge, and Dave was unreal, but I kept waiting for Glasper to take the lead and for Dave to back up musically.  I felt the same way for a lot of Benjamin’s alto work.  There was a disjointed nature to the music:  shorter phrasing and quick statements, darting in and out of Dave’s drumming  (I will say this about Benjamin on vocorder, though:  really beautiful, expressive, and musical; my favorite moment of the night was Benjamin really going to town on it at the end of a Hodge original).

I’ve asked some other people about the band’s two nights at Jazz Alley, and some folks had similar feelings.  Deandre Enrico, a great bassist around town, wrote to me that “it often sounded…like the drums weren’t playing ‘with’ the rest of the band…it ruined any chance for a ‘groove'”.  But others, like my friend and drummer Tarik Abouzied, made the case that the music needed to be listened to in a different way, that when it came down to it Dave was comping and adding to the music the same way other musicians do, but because he is a drummer it sounds different to me.  I disagreed at first, but the more I think about it, the more I think Tarik may be right.

I talk a lot about trying to erase the divide between soloist and rhythm section, improvisation and accompaniment, but when I see it in practice I still fall into my old biases.  It’s also important to point out that although Chris Dave is the most well known of the group of drummers playing in this sort of style, there are many out there, and it could also be that I just need to check more stuff out.

I kind of wish I had the chance to see the Experiment again now that I’ve gone back and forth in my mind, but I will have to wait until next time.

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