I was introduced to this recently dubbed Grammy award winner by a friend of mine and our own Political K at some point in recent years. I wasn’t familiar with his music nor was I even interested in knowing of his talent regardless of their urging me to listen. Yet, when I finally heeded those instructions to give him a true chance to grace my eardrums with his melodies I was truly blown away. Needless to say Robert Glasper has unparalleled talent, but if you are a fan of jazz then you can easily tell he brings something different to the genre altogether. I mention this based off songs he has written and performed as well as songs he covers from within the jazz genre and outside of it. One that still amazes me is his cover of Nirvana‘s Smells Like Teen Spirit. If you’re a fan of the original and don’t want to see it changed this may not be for you. However, if you don’t mind a new take on classic music then it may open your eyes and ears to a brand new feeling and emotion of the song and its uniqueness.
I felt the exact same way when I came across this cover of Pact Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box by Radiohead. The song is great unaltered in its original form. But still Glasper finds a way to expand on this and takes the song to a different feeling with his jazz stylings. With flawless and complimentary beatboxing from Taylor McFerrin (son of the great Grammy winning Bobby McFerrin) and a smooth carrying baseline from Derrick Hodge, Robert stays true the song while adding intricacies to it that make it stand out as a formidable jazz rendition. I believe jazz covers of songs that are nowhere near the original genre are often complicated and sometimes unattainable in regards to the overall presentation. Yet, I think Glasper has a talent to make these seemingly polar opposite styles come across to the listener as relatives that may be just one generation removed. In the end, you’re left with something that makes you want to explore his body of work more and perhaps even step outside of the box that you have felt comfortable residing in for all this time. Maybe then you will be like Political K, passing on references of musical artists that are ahead of their time to the unknowing who happen to think of themselves as music enthusiasts. Just goes to show that when it comes to the galaxies of music a friendly reference should never fall on deaf ears.
– Supreme Soul