Edinburgh Festival Fringe music review: Robert Glasper Trio, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jim Gilchrist.
American pianist and producer Robert Glasper is renowned for his seamless blending of jazz and urban genres such as hip hop and R&B, winning a Grammy for his 2012 album Black Radio. For this late-night Hub Sessions gig he reverted to the classic jazz piano trio format which he claims as his first love.
Joined by his long-standing trio mates, double bassist Vincente Archer and drummer Damion Reid, after some lugubrious procrastination he opened with the Prince hit Sign ‘O’ the Times , following up with his own I Don’t Even Care over Reid’s intensely free-ranging curtain of percussion. Occasionally Glasper seemed to be living up to that last title, his keyboard ruminations laconic to the point of disinterest.
Elsewhere, however, were explosive arpeggios and sharply fragmented chords which switched suddenly to mellow expanses of melody, sometimes over a hefty hip hop bass and bass drum wallop laid down by Archer and Reid.
There were some droll exchanges between pianist and drummer and even the old jazz standard Stella by Starlight, Reid’s brushes whirring sumptuously behind.
It was fun and at times highly engaging, but might perhaps have been more to the point.
[Main image: Janette Beckham]
Published in The Scotsman on 12 August 2015
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