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Robert Glasper Puts His Trio On Shuffle

Robert Glasper's new piano trio album is called <em>Covered</em>.
Don Q. Hannah
/
Courtesy of the artist
Robert Glasper's new piano trio album is called Covered.

Pianist Robert Glasper started his recording career with a simple jazz trio format: piano, bass, drums. But lately, he's expanded his sound and his band to include R&B, hip-hop, rock and pretty much everything else for a series of recordings called Black Radio. Those experiments in genre-mashing won him a few Grammy awards and hordes of new fans — so it may surprise those listeners to learn that on Glasper's latest album, he's gone back to a trio.

"For the last five years I've been in my Black Radio land, and I got a lot of R&B success — so my purpose was to make a trio album that most everyone could understand," he says. "Most piano trio albums don't really cater to the average person, per se. They cater to people who already listen to jazz; they preach to the choir. There's so many facets, so many rooms in the house of jazz that you can visit, and that's what I do: I visit the rooms."

Glasper's new album, Covered, is mostly interpretations of other people's songs — an idea he says came to him while cycling through songs on his iPod Shuffle. He discussed that and more with NPR's Arun Rath; hear their conversation at the audio link.

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