Grammy award-winning pianist and bandleader Robert Glasper has earned considerable acclaim both within the jazz world and beyond for his choice collaborations with artists across genres. His two most recent albums, Black Radio and Black Radio 2, have showcased his “Experiment” band (an electric ensemble) alongside featured artists as diverse as Erykah Badu and Snoop Dogg.
Exclusive: Robert Glasper’s Next Experiment Is a Return to Jazz
With his newest album Covered (which is officially out today) however, Glasper is (kind of) returning to his traditional jazz roots, playing as part of an acoustic trio in Capitol Studios’ historic Studio A. His song choices (as the title would suggest, the album is exclusively covers), however, still reflect his cross-genre inclinations. “I just picked stuff that’s in my iPod,” he tells Billboard, “from Joni Mitchell to Kendrick Lamar.”
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“I’m getting away from the traditional way of playing jazz,” says Glasper, who was joining Kendrick in the studio to add keys to To Pimp A Butterfly during the off-hours from his Capitol recording sessions. “I’ve been doing mixtures, just kind of to have my own sound. It doesn’t sound swinging, necessarily,” he continues.
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Of his performance of Musiq Soulchild’s “So Beautiful,” debuted below, Glasper says it was an easy song to add to his repertoire. “I wanted to do songs by friends of mine, and it is one of my favorite songs of the last few years,” he tells Billboard. “It is Musiq’s best vocal performance so I was really feeling it. And the message of the song is really beautiful.”
Watch his performance below, and purchase Covered here.