Review: RRobert Glasper Experiment at LJF 2012
E2E’s music feature writer Lydia reviews the Robert Glasper Experiment gig at London’s Jazz Festival.
A couple of weeks back, I told you guys that the talented collective the Robert Glasper Experiment would be opening the London Jazz Festival this year. On Friday it took place, and I can honestly say it was one of the greatest nights of my life as far as music is concerned. If you didn’t make it down to the Southbank Centre, no worries, you can check what went down right here!
Before the Robert Glasper Experiment took to the stage, everyone knew that what lay ahead of us was a night of heartfelt music, brought to us by musicians from out of this world. Phantom Limb opened the show and I was absolutely blown away by the vocals of Yolanda Quartey, as well as Phantom Limb’s bassist, Andy Lowe. Their not only clever, but brave exploration of country music and old style R&B filled the venue with a beautiful and original sound.
The tone was now set for the Robert Glasper Experiment to come out and bring the house down – and that is exactly what they did. With Mark Colenburg on drums, Derrick Hodge on bass, Casey Benjamin on vocoder, synth AND sax, and last but not least Robert Glasper on keys, what filled the walls of the Royal Festival was something almost too great to imagine. As a collective they complement each other so well, as well as bringing something different to the group individually. Glasper teased us with a lot of what seemed to be borderline free-jazz throughout the night, playing off of Colenburg’s flawless Hi-Hats and Hodge’s bold grooves on the bass. The Robert Glasper Experiment are not only talented, but full of character. Robert Glasper had the audience crying with laughter as he showed us that it is not only on the keys he carries charisma.
Together they brought to life many of their well-known tracks – new, as well as old. These included a tribute to the late, great, hip hop producer J Dilla (known as ‘Dillaludes’ on Glasper’s studio albums) and ‘Ah Yeah’. They even went on to perform a live cover of Andre 3000‘s amazing hit, ‘Prototype’. And if that was not already enough, how do you think the crowd reacted when MF Doom stepped out onto stage? Needless to say, the vibe was something special.
The highlight of the night for me though, had to be their performance of ‘Cherish the Day’ from the Black Radio album. On the album Lalah Hathaway blesses the production with her strong and soulful vocals. However, at the LJF 2012, Basement Jaxx‘s vocalist, Vula Malinga, was the woman of the moment. I was absolutely speechless and I am pretty certain I can speak for every other person who attended the show when I say she did the song more than justice. I would even go as far as saying that she gave Lalah a SERIOUS run for her money! Casey Benjamin’s sax solo on this tune also had me losing my mind. His skills are CRAZY! After they finished their set, they received a standing ovation and an encore took place. The Robert Glasper Experiment came out one last time and blessed London with their final number, ‘Twice’, which is a cover of the Little Dragon favourite, and is taken from the Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP. The studio version features Solange and The Roots.
Music was alive that night and I am definitely looking forward to what the Robert Glasper Experiment have in store for us next!
If this review isn’t enough, you can check the performance of ‘Cherish the Day’ featuring Vula Malinga below!