Pianist Robert Glasper (HSPVA ’97)
Robert Glasper has won 4 GRAMMY Awards (with 6 nominations) and an Emmy Award. The pianist and producer’s many projects include an acoustic jazz trio and numerous electric bands that explore fusions of jazz and hip hop, as well as two fresh new projects including August Greene and R+R=NOW. In addition to touring, Glasper keeps a steady work flow as a film composer, producer and music director across many platforms.
Glasper’s breakthrough 2012 album Black Radio won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Black Radio featured guest performances by many neo-soul and hip hop artists including Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Lalah Hathaway and Yasiin Bey. The album was recorded live, with no overdubs, and laid out a new paradigm for creative music, reaching beyond entrenched genre boundaries to create a singular vision that drew from all reaches of contemporary black music and beyond. The album was met with both commercial success (#10 debut on Billboard’s Top Current Albums chart) and wide acclaim, with Rolling Stone declaring “Glasper heads down the fraught path of hip-hop jazz and gets it right.” Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP was released with five remixed tracks from the prior album, including remixes by Questlove, Solange, Georgia Muldrow, Pete Rock and 9th Wonder. Glasper followed that with Black Radio 2, which won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance in 2014 for his version of “Jesus Children of America,” featuring Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm Jamal Warner.
Recently Glasper served as producer, composer, and arranger for the film Miles Ahead, a biopic documenting the life of legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, whom Glasper cites as being one of his major musical influences.
In addition, Glasper released Everything’s Beautiful, a tribute to Davis which includes remixes and reinterpretations of several of his original works.
Glasper has also drawn wide attention for his prominent role on Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed album To Pimp A Butterfly. He has written/performed on albums by Mac Miller, Anderson Paak, Banks, Big K.R.I.T., Bilal, Esperanza Spalding, Herbie Hancock, Q-Tip and Talib Kweli. The song “Letter To The Free”; written with Common and Karriem Riggins, won an Emmy Award for Best Original Song in the Ava Duvernay documentary film 13th (Netflix) at the 2017 Emmys. In January 2018, Glasper announced a new band that consists of himself, Common and Karriem Riggins, called August Greene; and a project called “R+R=Now” with himself, Christian Scott, Terrace Martin, Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin, and Justin Tyson.