Robert Glasper: Double Booked (Blue Note) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Robert Glasper

Double Booked

Blue Note

Sep 17, 2009 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Two Robert Glaspers come to groove. The first is immaculately attired, metropolitan to the shine on his shoes, and primped to perfection. The other is more at ease in casual vines, a myriad clash of styles that creates its own comfortable fashion. That both Robert Glaspers are at the top of their game is a boon for those of us who dig him in every guise.

Double Booked is similarly separated into two sensibilities, “Trio” and “Experiment.” Both have similar prologues: telephone messages (one from jazz legend Terence Blanchard, the other from The Roots’ ?uestlove) urging the pianist to swing by and let loose, followed by a live performance of said let-loosery. The straightforward “Trio” highlights Glasper’s synchronicity with drummer Chris Dave (who follows his leader into the second half) and bassist Vicente Archer (who does not), a union that culminates in an interpretation of Thelonious Monk’s “Think of One,” which, interestingly, transitions into “Experiment” perfectly. It’s a nimble tour de force with the dexterous Glasper splashing ivory everywhere-one can imagine a coy brow-wag with each effortless flourish. The trio grabs every rhythm it can possibly secure.

The second half adroitly satisfies its experimental claim. It’s a looser joint than its other brother, at times untethered. Glasper goes electric on a Fender Rhodes for much of it, and adds saxophonist Casey Benjamin, who also has a special way with a vocoder, as he proved on Stefon Harris and Blackout’s Urbanus. Here Benjamin prettifies Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly” and his own “For You,” with Glasper’s crystalline strokes in place of Harris’ vibes on the latter. Studio effects bust loose on “Festival” as an oscillating whoosh pesters the pianist before mutating into a nor’easter that nearly tears the track in half. Of the vocal guests, Mos Def essays a disappointing freestyle in the brief “Eva,” but Bilal smokes in “All Matter.” Double Booked ends with another epic exploration in “Open Mind,” augmented by Jahi Sundance’s turntable chomp and Dave’s solid bites behind the kit, all propelling one of the finest hip-hop/jazz summits of the still-new millennium. There’s no way even the pickiest palate will split the album hungry; there’s something here for every appetite. (www.robertglasper.com)

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