Robert Glasper Experiment
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Robert Glasper had a strong musical influence in his mother, who played piano and sang gospel music in church as well as in jazz and blues clubs in Houston. By the age of twelve, he was playing piano in church and often accompanied his mother in clubs. Raised on gospel, Motown, and R&B, by his teens he was listening to jazz, rock, pop and hip hop. He attended the Houston High School for the Performing Arts and moved to New York City to study at New School University. While still in school he was already playing with Christian McBride and Kenny Garrett, and went on to play with Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, and Roy Hargrove.
After releasing his debut album Mood on the Fresh Sound label in 2003 followed by two buzzed about Blue Note albums with his acoustic Trio—Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007)—Glasper perfectly captured his unique duality with Double-Booked (2009), an album that juxtaposed his Trio and Experiment bands, and earned the keyboardist his first GRAMMY nomination.
The 2012 release of Black Radio was met with wide acclaim, with Jay-Z's Life+Times calling it a "a genre-bending album finding a perfect medium between jazz, R&B and hip-hop," while Rolling Stone declared "Glasper heads down the fraught path of hip-hop jazz and gets it right," adding that "with music this smart and inviting, the implied diss of mainstream doesn't feel like sour grapes; it feels like a blueprint forward." USA Today proclaimed it "an exhilarating experience," adding that "Glasper succeeds in making accessible, authentic music that is far removed from the disposable music that dominates black radio today."
Black Radio featured collaborations with vocalists including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Musiq Soulchild, and yasiin bey, and Glasper followed the album release with TV appearances on CBS Late Show With David Letterman, NBC Tonight Show With Jay Leno and NBC Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Black Radio was awarded Best R&B Album at the 2013 GRAMMY Awards.