Robert Glasper Experiment, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Thu 28 June
Jazz with a difference: the sonic sky's the limit with magic pianist Glasper
Appearing as part of 2012’s Glasgow Jazz Festival, the Robert Glasper Experiment were also touring to promote the American pianist’s Black Radio album released earlier this year. While it featured collaborations with an impressive roll call of hip and modern soul artists, including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco and Meshell Ndegeocello, this Fruitmarket concert offered a more jazz-focussed performance from Glasper, with simply his Experiment band of Casey Benjamin on vocoder and saxophone, Derrick Hodge on bass guitar and Mark Colenburg on drums, joining him on stage.
Benjamin’s keytar-like instrument gave his obvious vocals talents a strange, robotic-like treatment, as he switched between it and impressive performances on both alto and soprano sax. When combined with Glasper’s meandering, hypnotic and more intense key flourishes, Hodge’s thick, bass licks and the dexterous, polyrhythmic drumming of Colenburg, the result was a truly immersive sound, leading the mind deeper into contemplation as the show progressed; only a finale featuring alternative versions of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and Michael Jackson’s ‘Can’t Help It’ could break the spell.
Part of the 2012 Glasgow Jazz Festival.