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Collaborations work on ‘Black Radio 2’

Fri., Nov. 1, 2013

After winning the best R&B album Grammy this year for “Black Radio,” the Robert Glasper Experiment returns with a new release that could easily put it in the running for another.

The Experiment – which consists of pianist and producer Robert Glasper, bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Mark Colenburg and saxophonist Casey Benjamin – continues its revival of jazz and neo soul on “Black Radio 2,” which takes the band’s rebellion against genre integration one step further.

The album kicks off with “Baby Tonight (Black Radio 2 Theme)/Mic Check 2,” a soothing piano intro with short snippets of featured guests prepping you for what’s to come. Here, Glasper is a beast on the keys. That’s followed by the motivational “I Stand Alone” with Common and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump. The genre mashup is a perfect example of the jazz band’s resistance to categorization.

Glasper’s array of famous friends on the album includes Brandy on the laid back yet catchy “What Are We Doing,” and Jill Scott, sounding like butter, on the smooth lead single, “Calls.” Other standout tracks include the Norah Jones-assisted “Let It Ride,” a groovy and upbeat track, and “Somebody Else,” which gets a boost thanks to the elegant vocals of Scottish R&B singer Emeli Sande.

“Black Radio 2” works because Glasper has comfortably picked the right artists to collaborate with. There’s nothing to dislike here.


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