Robert Glasper stopped by London to perform to a sold out Barbican theatre with yet another reincarnation of his experiment band. With the all too familiar Casey Benjamin on lead and Mark Colenburg on drums missing from the group, one could be forgiven for believing that there could be a chance that this visit wouldn't deliver the audio satisfaction that one gains from the usual foursome. As it turned out, this was a very different yet equally satisfying sound that brought a brand new collection of songs to the table.
" Of course, it would certainly be a shame to not be treated to genius referencing, in this case a sprinkling of John Coltrane's 'Love Supreme' over Stevie's 'Too High' "
Glasper started off the evening with his trio, delivering beautiful traditional jazz numbers that gave us a chance to marvel at his superior piano prowess, blended in with the stunning sound from the double bass. Once this was over it was time for a set change.
With songs like 'Too High' to set things off, Derrick Hodge maintained the beautiful baseline throughout as the band stayed true to signature tricks you would expect on a set of theirs; sublime time-feel with a steady bass holding everything together throughout complex drum and piano tangents courtesy of Glasper and George Spanky Mccurdy. Of course, it would certainly be a shame to not be treated to genius referencing, in this case a sprinkling of John Coltrane's 'Love Supreme', just because they can do such things and make a Jazz purist smile in gleeful approval.
With Lasharvu on set, the new experiment played Stevie classics such as the glorious 'Overjoyed', with dreamlike harmonies and exquisite piano and harmonica work. Stevie wonder fanatics were also treated to the song 'Visions', beautifully re imagined with stunning arrangements and the wonderful harmonies of Lasharvu.
There were more surprises in store, with Laura Mvula making an appearance and singing through a few more Stevie wonder classics as well as treating us to the beautiful song 'Bread' as the penultimate song from this great set. Following the encore, Glasper returned to finish off with Bilal's song 'The Flow'.
With such a great set, it is no wonder that Glasper continues to soar to new heights. If you happen to be in town when he passes through, do yourself a favour and make sure you pick up tickets to see him, you will not be dissapointed!