I have been a little out of the loop when it concerns Robert Glasper. To be honest, I still play much of his back catalogue that includes The Blue Note All-Stars - Our Point of View and Black Radio. These albums are the new contemporary classics that appeal to the young and old; and the purist and the modernist. What Robert did with these as he has done in the past, is share the limelight. This musical genius has a way of paying it forward.
R+R=NOW is no exception to the rule. Conceived from an idea in 2017 when Glasper asked to put together an all-star line-up for a show at SXSW and reflecting on the concept from the Nina Simone documentary What Happened Miss Simone?; he responded with R+R=NOW.
The personality, the skill-sets, the talent of each artist delivers convincing live performance. We have Terrace Martin (Velvet Portraits) on synthesizer, vocoder, and alto saxophone, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (Ancestral Recall) on trumpet, Derrick Hodge (Color of Noize) on bass, Taylor McFerrin (Brojenb Vibes) on synthesizer with up-and-coming performer Justin Tyson on drums.
The band had previously released the 8-track studio album Collagically Speaking, and it was encouraging to see all the artist have writers' credits, as they do in this live performance.
How Much a Dollar Cost pays homage to Kendrick Lamar which incidentally was co-composed by Terrance Martin and released close to five years ago. This instrumental track is also available as a single, but in my opinion, get the album and the original which packs a heavier bass. Listen to the original here.
Perspectives/Postpartum opens the Glasper joking with the crowd referring to this as the 'Melody Joint' and asking for slack (echo) on his mic for added comedy value. The masses are truly entertained before settling down to the hypnic brass charm from Christian Scott. The segue from Perspectives to Postpartum is sealed Glasper commenting "It's crazy I sound so good". (More Laughter)
Needed You Still featuring Omari Hardwick from the American crime drama series Power. Well, I didn't expect this bow of talent to be drawn from his quiver. His engagement with the band, so fluid as is his humorous spoken word. Be ready for a few cuss words.
What an exit for a live performance. In fact, consider this the pièce de résistance. The icing on the cake. Resting Warrior features Martin on Sax and synth, and he just melts into Tyson's syncopated groove. Although a monster of performance, the song does remind me little of Kendrick Scott Oracle's Cycling Through Reality. None the less this song is all killer.
The album isn't so much about each individual song. We all know these artists are at the top of their game. It was more about the radiant energy they brought to the audience. There doesn't seem to be any official videos of this performance circulating at the moment. Perhaps it will follow. But the videos I have seen featuring R+R=NOW are 'off the chain!"
Label: Blue Note