Robert Glasper – Lafayette

On any given performance, a crowd can encounter several unpredictable versions of the pianist Robert Glasper. There is the studious interpreter, head bowed and fingers weaving their way through J Dilla, Mulgrew Miller and Erroll Garner references on the keyboard; there is the loud, ranting joker, swaying between takes for extended appearances on the mic, spewing shoddy bars; and then there is the quiet sideman, slotting in with his band and moving together into swirling improvisations.

Fresh from a two-week residency at New York’s Blue Note, Glasper now brings his quartet of drummer Chris Dave, bassist Derrick Hodge and DJ Jahi Sundance to the intimate Lafayette.

Perhaps he spans so many performance personas because he is so prolific; playing electronic-jazz fusion with the Robert Glasper Experiment, intricate acoustics with his trio, and sludgy hip-hop instrumentals with his R+R=Now project. That’s not to mention his work as a session musician with the likes of Erykah Badu, Mos Def and Kendrick Lamar. All of this variety can make for a frenetic live experience, and tonight – the second of his three performances – is no exception, enveloping all of his styles into one eclectic jumble.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 08/03/20]