Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio 2

Nice R&B, just a bit too safe…
Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio 2

Robert Glasper was once considered a jazz musician. That seems like a distant memory, though, since his recent work rests somewhere between traditional and non-traditional soul.

He’s previously put incredible twists on Radiohead’s ‘Packt Like Sardines…’ and ‘Everything In Its Right Place’, and Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ His band is called ‘Experiment’ after all.

On his new album, ‘Black Radio 2’, Glasper uses straightforward R&B to recapture the glory of last year’s part-one recording, which won a Grammy for Best R&B Album despite its wide-reaching aesthetic.

Like its predecessor – which featured singers Erykah Badu, Bilal and Musiq Soulchild, among many others — ‘Black Radio 2’ is an all-in effort that features Jill Scott (‘Calls’, video below), Anthony Hamilton (‘Yet To Find’) and Emeli Sandé (‘Somebody Else’).

Norah Jones offers her delicate tenor to percussive standout ‘Let It Ride’; Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm-Jamal Warner help spin a sombre remake of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Jesus Children Of America’, dedicated to the young victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of late 2012.

Overall though, this sequel falls just short of the original. ‘Black Radio 2’ is more triumphant sounding than its predecessor, but these songs aren’t as dynamic. The Experiment shines best when they’re ambitious, and when singer Casey Benjamin has a prominent vocal role. This is a nice collection of contemporary songs, but a bit too standard for the group’s broad creative ethos.

As a result, ‘Black Radio 2’ is a good, albeit safe recording.

7/10

Words: Marcus J. Moore      

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Stream tracks by Robert Glasper via Deezer, below…

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