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Monday, March 21, 2011

To the Robert Glasper Trio at Bruce Eaton's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz yesterday, the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles of local arts programing, only good. Glasper has a light, lyrical sound, playing on top of the muscular bass of Derrick Hodge and Mark Colenburg's drums, but he used all of the piano, rapping on the case or muting a string to add persuasion effects, and rolling a strong left hand when called for. The three of them also work the hip-hop side of the street, although to my ears this was an influence that has been absorbed, rather than a style of playing overlaid on their jazz sensibilities. (The influence is more pronounced sartorially: low rise jeans are unexpected on a jazz pianist.) They made a point of entertaining as a means of connecting with the audience, clowning around musically and jiving with each other ("What's your name?" Glasper asked Hodge through the show, feigning lack of recognition). Funny to think that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” may be on its way to becoming a piano jazz standard-- Glasper's version is as different from The Bad Plus' as The Bad Plus' was from the original, but they all work.

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