Robert Glasper is an excellent pianist, a fine composer, and a leader of a couple of bands. He is also a producer of considerable talent. His new album, his third on the Blue Note label, Double Booked is made up of two bands. A fine jazz trio and an experimental group, The Robert Glasper Experiment. On this occasion, Robert Glasper finds himself Double Booked, and in a far sighted move, he has recorded and produced both bands on the same album. Twelve tracks, along with some introductions, as to who’s who and which group is playing where. The production is all about outstanding music, great musicality and Double Bookedis sonically pleasing on a wide spectrum. Always a good thing for jazz.
The first set brings on the serious contemporary jazz, with incredible piano playing and a tight band that is fully engaged. The bassist, Vincente Archer and the drummer Chris Dave play as co-leaders with intense energy, skilful and thoughtful musicality. The trio plays hard bop inspired jazz through five contemporary - melodic pieces that are simply dazzling.
The Experiment come on strong, they have fun and get down to new wave music, old neo jazz, electronics and rap, with hip hop overtones of beat mixes and world pulses. The Experiment on "All Matter" goes wickedly right with jazz, meeting soul, meeting contemporary rhythms and world beats. Ideas and vocals of touching design, a group for our times with a sound that is calming, make peace and make it matter. The vocals of Bilal sway and swirl, enhancing the melody with style and grace while pushing a message of importance.
The final track of Double-Booked is "Open Mind" and it features the effervescent piano stylings of Robert Glasper along with the electronic musings of the marvelous Casey Benjamin. The electric bassist Derrick Hodge adds his bottom end to the proceedings with a serious funky edge.