Black Radio

Black Radio

Robert Glasper’s triumphant fourth Blue Note album, Black Radio, has the spirit of an after-hours hang and the thoughtful preparation and sharp execution of a studio effort. After making two acoustic trio albums for the vaunted label, the pianist/keyboardist introduced his Experiment band on the second half of 2009’s Double Booked. On Black Radio, Experiment saxophonist/flautist/vocoder player Casey Benjamin, bass guitarist Derrick Hodge, and drummer/percussionist Chris Dave are back, as are guest vocalists Bilal and Mos Def (now going by yasiin bey). They’re joined by a slew of similarly open-eared, jazz-informed contributors, from Erykah Badu (on a buoyant version of the Mongo Santamaria standard “Afro Blue”) to Meshell Ndegeocello and Lupe Fiasco. Lalah Hathaway can be heard on the two most recognizable covers—handling lead vocals on Sade’s “Cherish the Day” and trading dreamy, wordless crooning with Benjamin’s vocoder-aided vocals on an extended outro to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

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