Published Sep 16, 2016With ArtScience, quartet Robert Glasper Experience have — more or less — made a straight-up jazz record. That said, it's never constrained by genre trappings; having thoroughly explored the premise of the influence of black artists and culture within today's music on the Black Radio record series, bandleader Glasper shifts gears here, just a bit; unlike those outings, there are no guest stars here to lean on — not that the quartet needed any help.
"The reality is, my people have given the world so many styles of music, so many different styles. So why should I just confine myself to one?" Glasper asks on opening track "This Is Not Fear." ArtScience mines this premise, from the R&B, vocoder-assisted "Thinkin Bout You" to the '80s electro-R&B of "Day to Day." They manage to make yet another cover of the Human League's "Human" not feel too trite, while the sax strains on "No One Like You" feel like an audio caress and the soothing vibes of "Let's Fall in Love" aim for Quiet Storm rotation.
This year has been a busy one for Glasper, having dropped a Miles Davis biopic soundtrack project and album Everything's Beautiful. At this point, Glasper, along with bassist Derrick Hodge, saxophonist Casey Benjamin, and drummer Mark Colenburg, are a well-oiled musical machine. As the Robert Glasper Experience, the quartet embrace jazz as they steer the genre into exciting directions. (Universal/Blue Note)