Twitter meets jazz
Winter break had its fun parts, but none as much as fun as a moment that started over a casual tweet. It all started when I was up to my casual shenanigans on Twitter and I found out that one of my favorite music artist, Robert Glasper, was coming to perform in Chicago. For those of you who do not know, Robert Glasper is a Grammy-winning jazz fusion/R&B pianist and producer who has worked with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Common, Erykah Badu, and many more. He currently has two groups – the Robert Glasper Trio and the Robert Glasper Experiment (both of which have very eclectic and distinguishable sounds).
With his trio, he recently released a new album entitled “Covered,” which was nominated for a Grammy. “Covered” is a jazz instrumentation album with remakes of tracks like Jhene Aiko’s “the Worst” and Musiq Soulchild’s “SoBeautiful.” From the first to the last track, each sound is something that captivates and brings to life musical imagery.
I have been dying to see Robert Glasper perform live ever since I was introduced to his music some years ago. Each time I learned about a concert that Robert Glasper had in Chicago I would either have no one to go with, missed the event, or have to shell out $150 for a digital book (thanks, Management course). I tweeted Mr. Glasper (without even thinking I would gain a response) that I desperately wanted to attend his show at the Jazz Showcase. As I was going to sleep, my phone vibrated with a notification from Twitter from @RobertGlasper saying that he would save me two tickets for his event. Needless to say, I did not go to sleep that night from the adrenaline rushing through my mind; I was finally (after years of wanting to) able to see one of my favorite artist.
The day of the event came and I was able to get into the historic Jazz Showcase with ease. It was so surreal – I had a candlelit table directly in front of the stage with pictures of Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck all around. The show started with Robert Glasper (a Texas native) talking to the audience about how a balmy 35-degree weather day was extremely cold to him. Song after song, you saw the audience engrossed in what the pianist was doing – laughing at arpeggios and phat chords progressions that we thought were impossible to do. The Trio performed tracks from his previous albums and told us about the background of each song – the group even covered classics like Outkast’s “Prototype” and remakes from the legendary Prince. My favorite part was when he somehow combined two hit songs, “SoBeautiful” with the new Drake “Hotline Bling.” Throughout the concert most of the audience was quietly enjoying each rendition (clapping and cheering once the trio clearly finished a song or solo), but when “Hotline Bling” started to play, the audience erupted with everyone rhythmically clapping and singing “Ever since I left the city YOU.”
This one night is a night that I doubt that I’ll ever forget. Interacting with one of my favorite artist and eventually seeing him in person was an amazing opportunity. Thank you, Mr. Glasper, for being so gracious and so talented; I cannot wait to see you and your Trio or Experiment again.
Christian Gray is a senior majoring in marketing with a focus in promotion and communications and a minor in economics. He is president of the Student Activities Board. When he’s not planning events or doing schoolwork, you’ll catch him watching something sports related (#KOBE) or vibing out to music. His career goal growing up was to be Batman. He won’t tell you if he was successful on that mission, but let’s be real – have you ever seen him and Batman in the same place before?