Chicago Drive-In
Pavement Entertainment

Getting a Glasp

| March 8, 2012 | 0 Comments

Being an accomplished jazz musician, Robert Glasper may have thought he’d pulled the coup of coups regarding the guestlist for his new album, Black Radio (EMI). He’s in town this weekend, and Rose Cousins also suits up.

Not to discredit hip-hop — which already suffers its undue share of plagiarization accusations — but originality hasn’t been at a premium recently. Glasper, whose credentials appear irreproachable, himself seems to be banking on Guru’s “Jazzmatazz” format, by underpinning conscious MCs and singers with swinging grooves. Or is he? Jazzy/neo-soul/hip-hop hybrids can literally be purchased at corner stores, but Black Radio (EMI), transcends its semi-predictable guest list (Mos Def, Erykah, Bilal) and commandeers the reins. Glasper does enough to fudge the lines between production and centerstage to make it work — of course, he won’t have all his friends with him on tour, so it had better. (Saturday@Double Door with Bilal.)

When Rose Cousins grabs the mic, she has the orchestra behind her. We Have Made A Spark (Old Farm Pony) relies on its arrangements nearly to the point of nullifying the songwriter, though Cousins luckily can sway and swoon enough to keep from being a traffic cone. She and producer Zachariah Hickman do battle with cellos, varying time signatures, and volume, — wringing epic, Sarah McClachlan emotions out of each song — but score their most points on an odd-meter, delightful Celtic-ish (Celtish?) jaunt, “All The Stars.” (Saturday@Space with Teitur.)

— Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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