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The Robert Glasper Experiment reinvents familiarity at Neumos

The Robert Glasper Experiment (Photo by Hanna Stevens)

The Robert Glasper Experiment (Photo by Hanna Stevens)

The Robert Glasper Experiment gave a masterfully incredible performance at Neumos on April 14. The music extended from simple beauty and familiar melodies to stretched improvisations and experimentations, and the quartet held the packed venue’s attention throughout the night.

There were gorgeous, dynamic, extended solos, improvised compositions, and familiar songs including Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Floetry’s “Say Yes,” and Flying Lotus’s “Never Catch Me.” (That FlyLo track features Kendrick Lamar, whose recent release To Pimp A Butterfly has Glasper’s playing all over it.)

The group also played tracks from the Black Radio project including “Gonna Be Alright,” the Jill Scott feature “Calls,” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Mastermind Robert Glasper’s  sweet Rhodes sounds and rich piano voicings rounded the sound while Casey Benjamin’s melodic leads via vocoder, keytar, and saxophones exuded rich joy. The musicality and technique of drummer Mark Colenburg and bassist Burniss Earl Travis wove artistry through the quartet’s foundation and groove.

Among Glasper’s other projects is his trio. Their new record Covered (The Robert Glasper Trio recorded live at Capitol Studios) will be released June 16 on Blue Note Records, and a cover of Radiohead’s song “Reckoner” was recently released as a single.

Seattle’s shapeshifting electro/hip-hop band Theoretics opened, playing songs from their recently released EP Fugue State. The quintet was joined by five of their collaborators throughout the set, including Grynch, Moe Betta, Maiah Manser, and Tazlyn Gue.

Hanna Stevens is a musician and photographer from Indianola, WA who now lives, works, and plays in Seattle. Music and photography create the framework for Hanna’s life. Her intention is to create community through music and art, and she is thankful for the chance to do so for SMI.