So last night Ronnie Herel and I were lucky enough to spend the evening with The Robert Glasper Experiment, and I use that terminology deliberately…I will explain later.
For those of you who are still not familiar (shame on you) Robert Glasper is a musician and producer who recently released two albums; ‘Black Radio ‘ and ‘Black Radio 2‘ with his band under the title ‘The Robert Glasper Experiment‘ and who treated London to a live performance at The Eventim Apollo last night.
From the start of the show one thing was clear – this was going to be a night of effortless, unapologetic musical authenticity. Robert and the rest of the ‘Experiment’ band came on stage sporting their own unique styles but sharing the same laid back vibe with Robert on keys, Derrick Hodge on guitar, Casey Benjamin on lead vocals and saxophone and Mark Colenburg on drums. This collaboration should be re launched named ‘The Robert Glasper Masterclass’ as all 4 members are exceptional, world class musicians who played with finesse and have an incredible chemistry together. Mark Colenbug gave without a doubt the best drumming performance I have ever seen, his sticks did not rest for the first 30 minutes of the show, he was effortless yet so full of energy and I’m pretty sure we could solve the Global energy crisis by using the power which he emulates from his drums!
The night felt like everyone there had been invited to a private jamming sessions in Robert Glasper’s basement, he explained that the group suffer from ‘Musical ADD’, an excellent description as they flowed across genres, mashed and riffed contemporary and classic songs, going from Cyndi Lauper to Janet Jackson to Bill Withers then to J Dilla. The Robert Glasper Experiment were on stage doing their thing – at many points with their eyes closed just feeling the music and that is why I say I spent the evening with Robert Glasper because it didn’t feel like a performer / audience scenario, it was everyone in the room together celebrating their passion for music.
What made it feel even more unique was the way that special guests Raheem Devaughn, Laura Mvula and Emeli Sande all casually joined the band on stage at points to jam with them. Each guest provided roof raising vocals; Raheem Devaughn performing a number of tracks including ‘Worries‘ and ‘Woman‘, Laura Mvula joined for ‘Calls‘ and Emeli Sande for ‘Somebody Else‘ all sounding even more incredible live than on any of their recordings.
Robert Glasper was the ultimate charismatic front man; funny, genuine and infectious, he was clearly having the time of his life on stage and you couldn’t help but feel the same. This experience was unique and exquisite, I would challenge anybody who is passionate about music regardless of genre not to be in awe of the performance that The Robert Glasper Experiment gave last night and if you were not fortunate enough to be there then make sure you don’t miss out next time!!
Carly – ann (@CarlyMond)