St. Louis’ Jazz At The Bistro welcomed a crowd to the innovative piano musings of The Robert Glasper Trio, which featured Alan Hampton on double-bass and St. Louis’ own, Mark Colenburg on the drums.
Glasper sat at the piano, picked up the microphone and spoke to the crowd in a very cozy fashion… for quite some time… He even struck a chord (pun possibly intended) with the audience when he mentioned he liked the Chinese carry-out fried rice.
When Glasper finally started playing, he pounded out a repetitive rhythm that was reminiscent of Morse code, or possibly even a breaking TV news update. The bassist carried on his fiery recurring line in classic “driving-the-bus” fashion, as the drummer free-styled various percussive flourishes, giving just the right touch to the jazz frenzy!
Much to my own delight, as the bassist carried out the ending, he intertwined it with the bass line to Herbie Hancock’s “I Have A Dream,” carrying the audience into the second song of the evening.
Glasper proved to be a VERY INVENTIVE pianist, as he played repetitive lines, then interpolated them, then played the intended piece.
At another band break, he got really cozy with the audience again, as he made mentioned of his album, “Black Radio”, which will be released February 28th. He mentioned a long line of people who appear on the album; among them Erykah Badu, Balal, Common and many others. The list he named made a lot of audience members really excited!
Glasper introduced the next song with a tease, “This next song is a rock song… At least our interpretation of a rock song”…
The jazz introduction laced and encircled itself, as the audienced wondered, “Just what rock song could this be”…? It wasn’t long before the tune revealed itself: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, by Nirvana! How COOL is THAT!?!? It was the most serendipitous blend of JAZZ and ROCK anyone could have ever imagined! That really got heads bobbing. It would have been no surprise if the audience members had held up lighters at the end of the song, but they all controlled themselves.
The interesting thing about the next piece was that it held the bassist and the drummer in a trance. Glasper played long litanies of jazz lines, and it seemed that only he knew when he would whip out THE ONE recognizable line which was punctuated with the same short and jazzy note by the drummer and the bassist. It really seemed as though bandleader Glasper was playing a game with them to test their awareness and their reflexes; and they were right on point EVERY time!
It was quite an enjoyable night of mind-opening jazz inventions by The Robert Glasper Trio!