Photo by Ed Newman
|Born||April 5, 1978|
|Origin||Houston, Texas, United States|
|Genres||Jazz, hip hop, soul, R&B, neo soul|
|Occupations||Musician, singer–songwriter, record producer, composer, arranger|
|Years active||2003 - present|
|Labels||Blue Note Records|
|Associated acts||Bilal, Mos Def, Q-Tip, RCDC
J Dilla, Erykah Badu, Common Talib Kweli, Maxwell,
Meshell Ndegeocello, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Musiq Soulchild, Stokley Williams, Hindi Zahra
|Website||Robert Glasper on Twitter|
Robert Glasper (born April 5, 1978 in Houston, Texas) is an American jazz pianist and record producer. His 2012 album Black Radio won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album at the 55th Grammy Awards pre-show.
Glasper’s earliest musical influence was his mother, Kim Yvette Glasper, who sang jazz and blues professionally. She would bring him with her to club dates rather than leave her son with babysitters. She also performed in church where the young Glasper began playing piano, and performed during services at three separate churches: Baptist, Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist. Glasper has said that he first developed his sound in church, where he learned his own way to hear harmony, and was inspired to mix church and gospel harmonies with jazz harmonies.
Glasper attended Elkins High School in Sugarland, TX and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and went on to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. At the New School, Glasper met neo-soul singer Bilal Oliver. They began performing and recording together, which led to associations with a variety of hip-hop and R&B artists parallel to Glasper’s emerging jazz career. He has worked with Bilal and Mos Def as musical director, Q-Tip (The Renaissance), Kanye West (Late Registration), Meshell Ndegeocello (The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams), J Dilla, Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Common, Slum Village and Maxwell, with whom he toured extensively on 2009’s BLACKsummers'night tour.
Glasper’s first album, Mood, was released by Fresh Sound New Talent in 2004, after the pianist’s stints playing in bands with guitarists Russell Malone and Mark Whitfield, bassist Christian McBride, and trumpeters Terence Blanchard (Bounce) and Roy Hargrove. The album features six original compositions by Glasper alongside versions of “Blue Skies,” “Alone Together,” and Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” featuring guest vocalist Bilal. Glasper has said that his arrangement of the Hancock tune was inspired by the Radiohead song “Everything in Its Right Place.”
Blue Note Records released Canvas, Glasper’s major-label debut, in 2005. The album features nine original songs and a version of Hancock’s “Riot.” Glasper plays the Fender Rhodes on three tracks, and Bilal sings on two. In My Element, released in 2006, includes songs written in honor of Glasper’s mother (“Tribute”) and hip-hop producer J Dilla (“J Dillalude”). The pianist also revisits Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” which segues into a version of “Everything in Its Right Place,” and quotes Duke Ellington’s “Fleurette Africaine.”
Glasper's 2009 album Double-Booked is divided between songs performed by Glasper in an acoustic piano trio and funk-influenced tracks played on electric instruments, such as the Fender Rhodes electric piano and the vocoder (used on a version of Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly”). The album features voice mail recordings from Blanchard and Roots drummer Questlove, and guest vocals and spoken word appearances by Bilal and Mos Def. Bilal received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for the track “All Matter.”
Glasper has performed at jazz festivals throughout the world, and his trio performed at the 2007 Bonnaroo Music Festival as part of Blue Note's "Somethin' Else" jazz tent. In addition to his working trio (Chris Dave, drums; Vicente Archer, bass), he also leads the Robert Glasper Experiment (Derrick Hodge, Chris Dave, and Casey Benjamin), in which he explores fusions of jazz and hip hop.
In 2012, Glasper released Black Radio, which featured performances by many neo-soul and hip hop artists including Lupe Fiasco. This synthesis of hip hop and jazz is supposedly Glasper's attempt to correct what he sees as a lack of new energy in the jazz genre. In the April 2012 issue of Down Beat, Glasper stated that "I've gotten bored with jazz to the point where I wouldn't mind something bad happening. Slapping hurts, but at some point it'll wake you up. I feel like jazz needs a big-ass slap." Glasper is currently represented by Addeo Music International (AMI).
Musical Style 
Glasper's music can be described as "experiments with space, rhythm and chord textures", creating a vast array of sound. He has said that he tries to make the music flow in a way more like a hip-hop beat, trying to always leave the music open for someone to rap over.
Awards and nominations 
|2013||Black Radio||Best R&B Album||Won|
|"Gonna Be Alright" (with Ledisi)||Best R&B Performance||Nominated|
- Mood (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2004; recorded 2002)
- Canvas (Blue Note, 2005)
- In My Element (Blue Note, 2007)
- Double-Booked (Blue Note, 2009)
- Black Radio (Blue Note, 2012) #15 US 200, #4 US R&B, #1 US Jazz, #81 UK, #59 CAN, #165 FR, #71 NL
- Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP (Blue Note, 2012) #200 US 200, #2 US Jazz
- Robert Glasper: The pianist whose jazz is filled with soul, Telegraph
- Robert Glasper Video Interview, The Jazz Line
- In Conversaton with Robert Glasper, Jazz.com
- Charlie Parker Jazz Festival: Cool Jazz in Harlem, New York The Sun
- Review of Canvas, The Guardian
- Robert Glasper, Jazz Times
- In My Element by Robert Glasper, New York Magazine
- Review of Robert Glasper's Canvas, allaboutjazzcom
- "Robert Glasper, Black Radio – Track-by-Track Review". The Jazz Line. Mersion Media. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Official home page (hosted by Blue Note Records)
- Robert Glasper Facebook fan page
- Robert Glasper performs at NPR Music
- Progressing Under the Radar with Precision and Daring, New York Times