Comedian Hannibal Buress surprised Blue Note New York’s audience when he jumped on stage and rapped during Robert Glasper’s performance. Credit: Dervon Dixon photo

The pianist, composer, producer, and arranger Robert Glasper closes out his October Residency at the Blue Note (131 West 4th Street) jazz club Oct. 27 through Nov. 6. He is joyfully coming to his performing a total of 52 shows over 26 nights, for the 4th annual Robtober.

From Oct. 25-28, it will be Robert Glasper x Lala Hathaway featuring drummer Justin Tyson, bassist Burniss Travis, guitarist Isaiah Sharkey (Grammy winner/member of blues rocker John Mayer band) with DJ Jahi Sundance. Travis Tyson and DJ Jahi played on Glasper’s Grammy winning album “Black Radio” (2013). (It was the first album in history to debut in the top 10 of four different genre charts simultaneously: Hip Hop R&B, Urban Contemporary, Jazz and Contemporary Jazz.) These cats are soul musicians, they don’t worry about genre, music is a gumbo to be deliberately mixed for the best taste. The mix is all the better with the soulful smoky timbre of Hathaway, she captivates any audience. Her voice was the sound of the 1990s into early 2000 but regardless of her hiatus, the warmth of her harmony lingers through time. Being the daughter of the great Donny Hathaway matters. She sings the soul of rhythm and blues, children, even when she swings.

On Oct. 29 and 30, it will be Robert Glasper: The Original Trio, musicians to be announced. On Halloween, Oct. 31, Glasper features Thundercat. This is sure to be a roller coaster ride on the scariest day of the year with bass guitarist, singer and songwriter Thundercat. Both Glasper and the bass guitarist appeared on  Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly,” Glasper won a Grammy for the track “These Walls.”

On Nov. 2 it’s Glasper with Igmar Thomas and the Revive Big Band “Tribute to Meghan Stabile” (jazz concert promoter, producer and friend, who was bridging the gap between hip hop and jazz before her untimely transition). The Big Band reflects Stabile’s efforts to bring these genres together under one big sound. November 3, at SONY Hall (235 West 46th St.), Glasper presents yasiin bey (formerly Mos Def) featuring Bilal. Bey’s inspired bullets of awareness and Bilal’s vocals rolling on Glasper’s keyboard melodies will make an evening of ignited pleasure along with band members bassist Derrick Hodge, drummer Chris Dave and DJ Jahi Sundance.  Robtober comes to an end Nov. 4-5 back at the Blue Note with the same cast special guest yasiin bey and the band; Dave, Hodge, and DJ Jahi Sundance.

Glasper​ holds three Grammy awards and eight nominations across six categories, and an Emmy Award for his song for Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed documentary “13th” with Common and Karriem Riggins. 

The pianist’s October release of “Black Radio III: Supreme Edition” features his collaboration with the late Mac Miller (singer, rapper and record producer who died in 2018) entitled “Therapy Pt. 2.” “I sent Mac a track I was working on and he literally sent that joint back in like 45 minutes to an hour,” said Glasper. “He was always like that, he always wanted to work. Few times he came and sat in with me, some of my shows, always talking about music. Gonna miss that dude.”

Released last February, the original version of “Black Radio III” was highlighted by guest appearances from Killer Mike, Q-Tip, Esperanza Spalding, Ant Clemons, H.E.R., Jennifer Hudson, and Ty Dolla Sign, among others. “Black Radio III” follows Glasper’s “Black Radio” (2012) and “Black Radio II” (2013).

Glasper is in pursuit of good music be dam genres, music is boundless categories and boxed descriptions keep the music in a holding pad. Glasper shares music without borders. Black music that swings despite its name or title.

For reservations visit the website bluenotejazz.com.   

In today’s jazz society, musicians can win a Grammy award for performing an outstanding (album) solo. However, in 1942, the Grammy awards didn’t exist when at the age of 19 tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet earned his reputation playing an outrageous solo on the Lionel Hampton Orchestra recording of “Flying Home.” The record became a big hit and the orchestra’s mainstay tune on every performance. Such a big hit made it evident Jacquet had to burn it every show. The saxophonist once noted, “I loved playing that song and tried to out-do myself every time, the only problem—the audience didn’t want any changes.” The solo was played by every saxophonist, who followed Jacquet in the orchestra including Arnett Cobb and Dexter Gordon. It became a standing rule any aspiring saxophonist had better be able to blast that Jacquet “Flying High” solo. 

On Nov. 1, Dizzy’s jazz club (60th Street Columbus Circle) will celebrate the centennial of the legendary improvisational tenor Illinois Jacquet whose honks and wails explored the higher and lower registers of the tenor and influenced the sound of jazz. His technique and exuberant live performances influenced the saxophone style of rock-and-roll and R&B. The Illinois Jacquet Centennial Orchestra, a 16-piece jazz orchestra loaded with a cast of all-stars, are dedicated to preserving and expanding the rich musical legacy of Jean Baptiste Illinois Jacquet. The orchestra will be by trombonist, composer James Burton III, a member of the tenor’s final big band.

The evening will feature his original arrangements performed by esteemed alumni of Jacquet’s band plus special guest tenor saxophonist, composer and vocalist Camille Thurman (her vocals will take you places of wonderment and her sax will spark a light). The rhythm section will include pianist Jeb Patton, bassist Clovis, and drummer Kenny Washington. 

Jacquet (Oct. 30, 1922 – July 22, 2004) appeared with Cab Calloway’s band in Lena Horne’s movie “Stormy Weather” (1943). Jacquet was called on for performances with Ella FitzgeraldDizzy GillespieOscar Peterson, and Buddy Rich. As a leader, the tenor saxophonist recorded extensively from 1951-2004. His final recording “Swingin’ Live with Illinois Jacquet: His Final Performance” was released in 2006.  

Jacquet was a mean dresser. He often shared his tour adventures, jokes and traveling in the midst of segregation, during Sunday afternoon dinners at Cheryl Weston’s home. He became the first jazz musician to be an artist-in-residence at Harvard University, in 1983. He played “C-Jam Blues” with President Bill Clinton on the White House lawn during Clinton’s inaugural ball in 1993. Jacquet’s final performance was on July 16, 2004, at the Lincoln Center in New York. In 2008, The Chapel of the Sisters in Prospect Cemetery was restored and re-dedicated as the Illinois Jacquet Performance Space on the grounds of York College in Jamaica, Queens.

“I am extremely proud of my dad and his dedication to his craft,” said his daughter Dr. Pamela Jacquet Davis during a phone interview. “The legacy he is leaving for young people is so good, I am speechless.”

For reservations visit the website jazz.org or call 212-258-9595.

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1 Comment

  1. Ron Scott does a thorough job of putting the reader in the moment and wishing they could have been there!

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