Robert Glasper

Robert Andre Glasper (born April 5, 1978) is an American pianist and record producer. He has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards and has won three Grammys[3] and one Emmy Award.[4] His 2012 album Black Radio won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album at the 55th Grammy Awards. His 2014 album Black Radio 2 was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album at the 56th Grammy Awards. The song "These Walls", on which Glasper plays keys, from Kendrick Lamar's album To Pimp A Butterfly won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 57th Grammy Awards. The soundtrack for the film Miles Ahead, for which Glasper was a producer, won Best Soundtrack Compilation at the 58th Grammy Awards. The song "Letter to the Free", written with Common for the Ava DuVernay documentary 13th, won the 2017 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.

Robert Glasper
Glasper in 2013
Glasper in 2013
Background information
Birth nameRobert Andre Glasper[1]
Born (1978-04-05) April 5, 1978 (age 42)[2]
OriginHouston, Texas, U.S.
  • Record producer
  • songwriter
  • arranger
  • keyboardist
  • Piano
  • fender rhodes
  • keyboard
Years active2003–present
Associated actsAugust Greene, R+R=NOW, J Dilla, Mos Def, Robert Glasper Experiment

Life and careerEdit

Robert Glasper live at Leverkusener Jazztage (Germany) on November 9, 2016

Early lifeEdit

Glasper's earliest musical influence was his mother, Kim Yvette Glasper, who sang jazz and blues professionally. She took him with her to club dates rather than leave her son with babysitters. She was the music director at the East Wind Baptist Church, where Glasper first performed in public.[5] He performed during services at three churches: Baptist, Catholic and Seventh-day Adventist. Glasper has said that he first developed his sound in church, where he learned his own way to hear harmony, and was inspired to mix church and gospel harmonies with jazz harmonies.

Glasper attended Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, and the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. In tenth grade he performed with the jazz band at Texas Southern University.[6] He was in the second Vail Jazz Workshop in 1997,[7] and went on to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City.[8] At the New School, Glasper met neo-soul singer Bilal Oliver.[9] They began performing and recording together, which led to associations with a variety of hip-hop and R&B artists parallel to Glasper's emerging jazz career.


Glasper has worked with Bilal and Mos Def as musical director, Q-Tip (The Renaissance), Kanye West (Late Registration), Meshell Ndegeocello (The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams), J Dilla, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Common, Slum Village, and Maxwell, with whom he toured extensively on 2009's BLACKsummers'night tour.

Glasper's first album, Mood, was released by Fresh Sound New Talent in 2004, after the pianist's stints playing in bands with guitarists Russell Malone and Mark Whitfield, bassist Christian McBride, and trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Roy Hargrove. The album features six original compositions by Glasper alongside versions of the jazz standards "Blue Skies", "Alone Together", and Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage". Glasper has said that his arrangement of the Hancock tune was inspired by the Radiohead song "Everything in Its Right Place". Mood is mainly a piano trio recording, with Bob Hurst on bass and Damion Reid on drums.[10][11] Two tracks feature vocalist Bilal, two others adding Russell Malone, and saxophonists John Ellis and Marcus Strickland.

Blue Note Records released Canvas, Glasper's major-label debut, in 2005. The album features nine original songs and again a version of a Hancock composition, "Riot". Glasper plays the Fender Rhodes electric piano on three tracks, and Bilal sings on two. In My Element, released in 2006, includes songs written in honor of Glasper's mother ("Tribute") and hip-hop producer J Dilla ("J Dillalude"). The pianist also revisits Hancock's "Maiden Voyage", which segues into a version of "Everything in Its Right Place", and quotes Duke Ellington's "Fleurette Africaine".

Glasper's 2009 album Double-Booked is divided between songs performed by Glasper in an acoustic piano trio and funk-influenced tracks played on electric instruments, such as the Fender Rhodes and the vocoder (used on a version of Hancock's "Butterfly"). The album features guest vocals and spoken-word appearances by Bilal and Mos Def. Bilal received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for the track "All Matter".

Glasper has performed at venues and festivals throughout the world including the Apollo Theater, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hollywood Bowl, North Sea Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, The Kennedy Center, Mt Fuji Festival, The Barbican, London Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Fonda Theater, El Rey Theater, and the Troubadour. In addition to his working trio (Damion Reid, drums; Vicente Archer, bass), he also leads the Robert Glasper Experiment (Burniss Earl Travis, Justin Tyson, Michael Severson, DJ Jahi Sundance and Casey Benjamin), in which he explores fusions of jazz and hip hop. He has made numerous TV appearances including CBS Late Show With David Letterman, NBC Tonight Show With Jay Leno and NBC Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and The Conan O'Brien Show on TBS.

In February 2012, Glasper released Black Radio, which featured performances by many neo-soul and hip hop artists including Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Lalah Hathaway and Yasiin Bey. Black Radio laid out a new paradigm for creative music, reaching beyond entrenched genre boundaries to create a singular vision that drew from all reaches of contemporary black music and beyond. The album was met with both commercial success (a #10 debut on Billboard's Top Current Albums chart) and wide acclaim, with Rolling Stone declaring "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." The album won the 2013 GRAMMY Award for Best R&B Album. In November 2012 Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP was released with five remixed tracks from the prior album, including remixes by Questlove, Solange, Georgia Muldrow, Pete Rock and 9th Wonder.

On October 29, 2013, Glasper released Black Radio 2, another genre-defying effort that took the Black Radio blueprint and built to even greater heights. The core remained the Experiment, featuring Robert Glasper on keyboards, Derrick Hodge on bass, Mark Colenburg on drums, and Casey Benjamin on vocoder and saxophone. Providing the vocals throughout included Common, Brandy, Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius, Anthony Hamilton, Faith Evans, Norah Jones, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Emeli Sandé and Erykah Badu on the stella album highlight afro blue. Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm-Jamal Warner were featured on a cover of Steve Wonder's "Jesus Children of America", which was dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and won the GRAMMY for Best Traditional R&B Performance in 2015.

On June 16, 2015, The Robert Glasper Trio released the album Covered, which features instrumental covers of songs from an eclectic variety of well-known artists, including Radiohead, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar, and Joni Mitchell. The entire album was recorded live at Capitol Studios in 2014.[12] Covered was GRAMMY-nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

Glasper served as producer, composer, and arranger for the 2015 film Miles Ahead, a biopic documenting the life of legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, whom Glasper cites as being one of his major musical influences. The soundtrack primarily consists of arrangements and interpretations of some of Davis' most well-known compositions, with the exception of a few tunes written by Glasper himself.[13]

In addition, Glasper released Everything's Beautiful on May 27, 2016, marking his first release with Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings. The album serves as a tribute to Davis and includes remixes and reinterpretations of several of his original works. Although Davis died in 1991, he is credited as a co-artist of the album. The album includes features from Stevie Wonder, Bilal, Illa J, Erykah Badu, Phonte, Hiatus Kaiyote, Laura Mvula, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Ledisi, and John Scofield.[14]

On September 16, 2016, Glasper released "ArtScience". This is the first Experiment LP where all members write and produce, and the first with no guest vocalists. It features saxophonist and vocalist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Mark Colenburg, and Glasper himself—sings. It was recorded in New Orleans.

Glasper has also drawn wide attention for his prominent role on Lamar's acclaimed album To Pimp A Butterfly. He has written/performed on albums by Mac Miller, Anderson Paak, Banks (remix), Big K.R.I.T., Bilal, Kendrick Lamar, Q-Tip and Talib Kweli. In September 2017, Glasper appeared on a live stream with Esperanza Spalding while recording "Heaven in Pennies" for Spalding's album Exposure, which was released in December 2017.

In an August 2018 radio interview Glasper accused Lauryn Hill, who he had performed with once in 2008, of ″stealing″ music for her classic 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.[15] He also claimed that she treated her musicians poorly, instructing them not to make eye contact and threatening to half their pay because she was unhappy with how they were ″learning the music″.[16]

On June 25, 2020, Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, and 9th Wonder announced the formation of a supergroup, Dinner Party. They released a single, "Freeze Tag", and their debut album is forthcoming July 10, 2020.[17]

Musical styleEdit

Glasper's albums are centered around his work as a solo artist, and two bands: The Robert Glasper Trio (on piano Robert Glasper, drummer Damion Reid, and bassist Vicente Archer) as an acoustic jazz trio, and The Robert Glasper Experiment (Glasper, drummer Mark Colenburg, saxophonist/vocoderist Casey Benjamin and bassist Derrick Hodge) as an electronic act that defies genre norms from any single discipline. "That's what makes this band unique... We can go anywhere, literally anywhere, we want to go. We all have musical ADD and we love it."[18] With primary influences in neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, gospel, and R&B, Glasper also has reinterpreted songs from rock acts Nirvana, Radiohead, Soundgarden, and David Bowie.[19] As a jazz artist, Rashod D. Ollison reviewed him after the release of Canvas as "a gifted jazz musician with a brilliant, energetic technique and a fresh, mesmerizing sense of melody and composition".[20]

Glasper claims that the music of Miles Davis has had a significant influence on his style throughout his career as a musician. Both the soundtrack for Miles Ahead and the tribute album Everything's Beautiful are clear indications of this influence.

"I'm obviously influenced by Miles Davis – even just the psyche of how he thinks about he moves through, and always wanted to reflect the times he's in. That's what I'm doing now. He opened that door."[21]

In 2019 Robert Glasper appeared in Toni Thai Sterrett's "Potty Break" Webseries as an R&B artist named "The Hawk".[22]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Grammy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2010 "All Matter" (with Bilal) Best Urban/Alternative Performance Nominated
2013 Black Radio Best R&B Album Won
"Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.)" (with Ledisi) Best R&B Performance Nominated
2015 Black Radio 2 Best R&B Album Nominated
"Jesus Children of America" (with Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm-Jamal Warner) Best Traditional R&B Performance Won
2016 Covered: Recorded Live at Capitol Records Best Jazz Instrumental Album Nominated
2017 Miles Ahead Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Won


Studio albumsEdit

Year recorded Year released Title Label Notes
2002 2004 Mood Fresh Sound New Talent Most tracks trio, with Bob Hurst (bass), Damion Reid (drums); two tracks quartet, with Bilal (vocals) added; one track quintet with John Ellis (tenor sax), Mike Moreno (guitar) added; one track quintet with Ellis and Marcus Strickland (tenor sax) added[23]
2005 2005 Canvas Blue Note Most tracks trio, with Vicente Archer (bass), Damion Reid (drums); two tracks quartet, with Mark Turner (tenor sax) or Bilal (vocals) added; one track quintet, with Turner and Bilal added[24]
2006 2007 In My Element Blue Note Most tracks trio, with Vicente Archer (bass), Damion Reid (drums); one track with Reverend Joe Ratliff (spoken word) added[25]
2009 Double-Booked Blue Note Some tracks trio with Derrick Hodge (electric bass), Casey Benjamin (alto sax, vocoder); some tracks quartet, with Mos Def or Bilal (vocals) added; some tracks trio with Vicente Archer (bass), Chris Dave (drums)[26]
2012 Black Radio Blue Note With Casey Benjamin (vocoder, flute, sax, synthesizer), Derrick Hodge (bass), Chris Dave (drums, percussion); with Jahi Sundance (turntables) added on some tracks; plus various featured artists[27]
2013 Black Radio 2 Blue Note With Casey Benjamin (sax, synthesizer, vocoder), Derrick Hodge (bass) Mark Colenburg (drums, percussion); plus various featured artists[28]
2014 2015 Covered Blue Note Most tracks trio, with Vicente Archer (bass), Damion Reid (drums); plus various featured artists[29]
2016 Everything's Beautiful Columbia/Legacy uses samples of Miles Davis
2016 ArtScience Blue Note [30]
2019 Fuck Yo Feelings Loma Vista Recordings With Chris Dave (drums), Derrick Hodge (bass), Affion Crockett, Buddy, Denzel Curry, Terrace Martin, James Poysner, YBN Cordae, Bilal, Herbie Hancock, Mick Jenkins, Yebba, Andra Day, Staceyann Chin, Baby Rose, Rapsody, SIR, B Kelly, Song Bird, Muhsinah, Queen Sheba, Yasiin Bey.
2020 Dinner Party Sounds of Crenshaw/Empire With Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, 9th Wonder.[31]



As sidemanEdit

With Kendrick Scott Oracle

With R+R=NowEdit

  • Collagically speaking (2018)[35]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Artist Biography by Matt Collar". AllMusic. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "Robert Glasper". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. February 15, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  4. ^ [ps:// ""].
  5. ^ "Pianist Robert Glasper Straddles Jazz and R&B at Winter Fest". Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  6. ^ "talib kweli podcast w glasper".
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Notable Alumni". Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  9. ^ "To stop jazz's slide into irrelevancy, Robert Glasper is adding different genres to the mix". Daily News. New York. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  10. ^ "Robert Glasper: Mood". Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  11. ^ "AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos". Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  12. ^ "Wins 2nd Grammy; New Trio Album "Covered" Out June 16". February 24, 2015. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  13. ^ "Robert Glasper/Miles Davis: Everything's Beautiful". Pitchfork. May 28, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  14. ^ "Robert Glasper Mines the Miles Davis Archive on the Inside-Out Tribute Everything's Beautiful". Los Angeles Times. May 25, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  15. ^ "Lauryn Hill confronts claims of 'stealing' music and mistreating musicians". The Guardian. August 28, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  16. ^ "Robert Glasper Accuses Lauryn Hill Of ′Stealing Music′ For The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Album". Billboard. August 15, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  17. ^ "Hear The New Supergroup From Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, And 9th Wonder". Stereogum. June 25, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  18. ^ "The New Parish - Robert Glasper Experiment". The New Parish. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  19. ^ "Review of Robert Glasper's Black Radio". BBC. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  20. ^ Ollison, Rashod. "A modern-jazz master". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  21. ^ Chinen, Nate (May 25, 2016). "What Would Miles Davis Do? Robert Glasper Has An Idea". The New York Times. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  22. ^ "Watch Multi-Grammy Award Winner Robert Glasper in Toni Thai Sterrett's Potty Break Webseries". Blackfilm - Black Movies, television, and Theatre News. January 26, 2019. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "Review of Mood". Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  24. ^ "All About Jazz Review of Canvas". Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  25. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 561. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  26. ^ "Allmusic - Review of Double Booked". AllMusic. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  27. ^ "Robert Glasper, Black Radio – Track-by-Track Review". The Jazz Line. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  28. ^ "Robert Glasper Announces Deluxe Edition of Black Radio 2 & iTunes Pre-Order: News: Blue Note Records". Blue Note Records. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  29. ^ "Exclusive: Robert Glasper's Next Experiment Is a Return to Jazz". Billboard. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  30. ^ "Robert Glasper Experiment Detail New Album ArtScience, Share "Find You": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "the making of robert glaspers black radio recovered (the remix ep)". Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  33. ^ "Robert Glasper releases 'Porter Chops Glasper' digital EP; Announces tour with Ledisi". Blue Note. February 25, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  34. ^ "Robert Glasper/Miles Davis: Everything's beautiful". Pitchfork. May 28, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  35. ^ "Blue Note: 'R+R=Now' debut album 'Collagically Speaking'". May 18, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2019.

External linksEdit