Recording information: Studio Soyuz, Paris, France; Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY; Threshold Sound, Los Angeles, CA.
Black Radio is the first standalone recording by the electric Robert Glasper Experiment. Glasper's keyboards are augmented by saxophonist/vocoderist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Chris Dave. The album title is firmly aimed at its subjects. The band constantly blur the lines between jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and rock. The 12-song set features guest vocals by Shafiq Husayn, Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Ledisi, KING, Musiq Soulchild, and Chrisette Michele, Meshell Ndegeocello, Stokley Williams, and Mos Def. It also contains a jazz cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to close the set.
Rolling Stone (p.72) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "On BLACK RADIO, pianist Robert Glasper heads down the fraught path of hip-hop jazz and gets it right. The 'experiment' spirit pervades the entire album, informing everything from song structures to production."
Uncut (p.84) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Glasper covers Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. It's an ingenious arrangement, featuring juddering, minimal percussion, spare piano chords and vocoders that soar to the edge of the studiosphere..."
Magnet (p.58) - "[S]eamlessly merging historical and contemporary black musics -- jazz, hip hop, soul, fusion-era Miles Davis and the outer regions of Sun Ra's Afro-Futurism -- into one united radio program."
Billboard (p.60) - "[T]he keyboardist/producer/songwriter/bandleader knows no boundaries, deftly incorporating hip-hop, R&B and rock in to a fresh sound that never comes off as trite or forced."
Q (Magazine) (p.108) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Erykah Badu covers Coltrane, Lalah Hathaway takes on Sade, Bowie's 'Letter To Hermione' becomes a rolling jazz samba..."