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At this point in the game, the musicians in the Robert Glasper Experiment don’t really need formal introductions. The Grammy Award-winning band members– Robert Glasper (keys), Casey keep reading »

Check out footage from Bowlive III featuring Soulive with Derek Trucks, Ledisi, Nigel Hall, and the Bowlive Horns.

Jazz purists may be taken aback, but Glasper’s vision of melding the worlds of hip-hop, soul, and jazz is a thoughtful take on an idea that has been explored ad nauseum. Black Radio is Glasper’s vision of what the airwaves could sound like – a mixtape of sorts – that may not reignite a new movement to overtake popular radio as we know it today, but it’s a concept that should be applauded for a group of artists who believe in chops over charts.

What you hear in her voice is ancient and inexplicable. She channels grandmothers and griots to bring audiences to the precipice of tears as easily as she incites eruption. Erykah Badu takes stage as both installation art and high wire act. While she has not made a career of being boastful, it is very clear that the queen bee knows who she is. A combination of Abbey Lincoln, Billie Holiday, Chaka Khan, Parliament’s mother ship, and a Hendrix solo, Erykah Badu is the direct byproduct of a lineage preserved and most effectively expressed through song. A sociologist with a rolodex of great producers and an equally impressive catalog of hits, Badu sings a world based very closely upon the one she inhabits, but clearly thinks and aspires to a plane none of us will reach in this life. A voice as joyful as it is pained, her sound does less to rely on the ridiculous range that carries most vocalists, leaning instead on an awesome amount of versatility, unpredictability, and depth.

As the great voices of jazz and soul music are silenced, Erykah Badu – arguably the first successful mutation of both movements — could very well be the last of a dying breed. In an interview with music superstore, Amoeba, trumpeter Christian Scott may have said it best, “I always applaud her for her conviction because she’s such a great artist and really on a lot of levels I feel like she could be the last great jazz singer, which is kind of disheartening a little bit. But just her sensibilities – her ideas about music, how she approaches her music, the notes that she sings, her inflections; I think she’s really a huge light for us right now. Hopefully there will be someone that’ll come and grab the torch from her, but I don’t really hear it yet, so she’s the one right now.”

This week the Highline Ballroom will be host to a two-night only live event featuring the Robert Glasper Experiment with guests from their explosive 2012 release, Black Radio. Tuesday 2/28 will feature the Experiment with special Guests Yasiin Bey, Chrisette Michele, Lalah Hathaway, and Bilal. Wednesday 2/29 will feature special guests Lupe Fiasco, Ledisi, and Meshell Ndegeocello. You never know who will show up to an Experiment show, these two nights are not to be missed!

Get excited for NPR’s First Listen of The Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio. We’ve been waiting for a couple months to share this exciting piece of musical history with audiences around the world. From a track-by track analysis done by Glasper himself to frequent news updates, nothing beats the day you get to listen to the album in its entirety. Take 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 7 seconds (three times through if you have enough time) of your holiday Monday to give the album an listen-through.

The Robert Glasper Experiment has announced that they will release their upcoming album entitled Black Radio on February 28, 2012. Thus far what we know about the album is that Glasper and his experimental-music mongers Casey Benjamin, Derrick Hodge, and Chris “Daddy” Dave will be joined by a slew of exciting guest performers including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafiq Husayn, KING, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Mos Def, Musiq Soulchild,Meshell Ndegeocello, and Stokley Williams. Forget what you thought you knew about the Experiment; this album is sure to bring the music to a new level.

It is popular for artists to say that their music defies genre labels. They insist that their music exists separate from simplified categories such as: hip hop, country, or R&B. Contrary to that trend jazz pianist Robert Glasper does not shy away from his jazz roots and affiliation. Over the last decade Glasper has developed a unique sound that has allowed him to perform with everyone from soul singer Maxwell to pop star Kanye West.