Robert Glasper Experiment @ Hammersmith Apollo, London, 12.04.2014
The distinctive thing about the Robert Glasper Experiment is that you’ll get jazz, R&B, hip-hop, soul into a one-of-a-kind and utterly imaginative mix of past, present and future. This special musical blend was 110% present throughout the band’s powerful Hammersmith Apollo gig on the 12th of March.
The gig started with the goose bump-inducing voice and cracking sense of humour of Vula, who joked about being in the audience of a Robert Glasper concert a mere couple of months earlier and finding out she was to be the opening act this March (“Flip weave!” for people who were present at the concert).
And then it was time for the band of the night. Led by mastermind pianist Robert Glasper, the beautiful Art Deco surroundings of the Hammersmith Apollo welcomed vocoder “operator” and saxophonist Casey Benjamin, drummer Mark Colenburg and bassist Derrick Hodge.
The musical rollercoaster that Robert Glasper and co. offered from then on included a fittingly futuristic version of “Get Lucky” (and when you beat two “robots” at their own game, you must be pretty good at it) complemented by a striking sax solo; an explosive drum solo that’s got me opening Thesaurus searching for the right word to describe it (and failing miserably); a moment of pure bass poetry delivered by Hodge, followed by Glasper’s jazz electronic version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Grammy-winning “Black Radio”.
And then there was the impressive array of guests. Raheem DeVaughn killed it with the overwhelmingly perfect epic that was his ode to the ladies “Woman”; Laura Mvula stood in like the queen that she is for Jill Scott in “Calls” and Emeli Sandé came out for “Somebody Else”. All of this hosted by a casually humourous and undeniably brilliant Robert Glasper.
Wearing a “Rap – Lies = Hip-Hop” t-shirt, the Texan innovator at one point proclaimed “We have serious musical ADD”. And I’d say it’s an excellent condition to have and it should never be treated.
Raya (Twitter: @rayaiam)
P.S. All of the thanks in the world go to Serious and especially Young & Serious, whose team I am now a part part of. I am looking forward to a year full of great musical experiences… and all that jazz.
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