Which version of Robert Glasper would it be this time? With one foot in the straight-ahead jazz camp and one planted in hip-hop and funk, the American pianist has been carving out a dual identity. On his album Double Booked the two facets of his personality are laid out for all to see, tracks by his acoustic trio juxtaposed with the contemporary riffs of his other line-up, the Robert Glasper Experiment.
With Chris Dave on drums Glasper was certainly not short of firepower. Dave may be a diminutive figure, but he produced the most electrifying playing seen at this venue for a long time. Some parts of the set, in fact, came close to being a miniature drum concerto, Glasper laying down minimal accompaniment as his partner fired off round after round, at one point surging into a mesmerising drum ’n’ bass tattoo.
Memorable themes were thin on the ground, however. Glasper’s elliptical style, full of staccato runs and knotty harmonies, generates undeniable rhythmic tension but also runs the risk of turning in ever-decreasing circles. Glasper, who was in a jovial mood, prefers to ditch set-lists to follow the mood of the moment.
The venue was Tokyo's Cotton Club in Marunouchi Finance precinct.
I attended the gig with Masayuki Koito (Finance Researcher) & Editor of Japans Jazz Magazine "The Walker".
The Cotton Club is high-end and offers a nice and more elegant change for the usual Tokyo nightspots.
The acoustics where brilliant while the band stage showcases a nostalgic remake of the Harlem Theater.
All in all, one of the best live performances I have every seen.
Robert Glasper Experiment Live Cotton Club Tokyo 17/12/2010 -jimmy james by Spirit-Fingers
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