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Robert Glasper Experiment - ArtScience album review

Classy jazz crossover from the award-laden music maven Robert Glasper.

Robert Glasper Experiment - ArtScience album art

In his time Grammy-winning Houstonian Glasper has one-upped John Cage, preparing his piano with beer bottles. He’s reinterpreted Miles Davis on his Everything Is Beautiful LP, soundtracked the recent meta-biopic Miles Ahead, and he’s daringly mashed up Radiohead and Herbie Hancock (Everything In Its Right Place/Maiden Voyage). After his well-received brace of Black Radio albums, Glasper returns with his crack Experiment – Casey Benjamin (sax, vox), Derrick Hodge (bass) and Mark Colenburg (drums) – to take jazz, blues, soul and electronic music and combine them so elegantly into a set showcasing the unit’s undiluted facility and taste.

Digital and organic instruments work in concert, restless rhythms abound, and complex chord progressions are proffered with a soul man’s panache. Vocoder and autotune are textural tools; more Kid A than bloody Cher (Thinkin Bout You; Day To Day).

The vocal/electro samples on Let’s Fall In Love are nearly conceptual and the deep, ludic sax/piano on No One Like You is deeply transportive. There’s a fusion feel to You And Me, a Steely Dan cadence to the gorgeous In My Mind; you can imagine Fagen, Corea, Greenwood et al appreciating ArtScience for the bar-setting feat it so clearly is.

Grant Moon is the News Editor for Prog and has been a contributor to the magazine since its launch in 2009. A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.