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Giant Steps: Miles Davis & Robert Glasper

Friday, 24 February 2017 12:55

Swagger is one of those words that has experienced a kind of cultural make-over. It was once used to describe someone who moved through the world in an arrogant or aggressive way. Now it’s a word that denotes style and sophistication and CONFIDENCE. When talking about his idol and the subject of his last musical project, Miles Davis -- Robert Glasper refers to Miles’ swagger.

It should be noted that the Grammy-winning pianist said these words while sitting in a swanky studio wearing dark sunglasses. Robert and Miles two jazz musicians who although from different generations -- both took on the task of reflecting the times that they are in.

Miles through the 50, 60, 70’s and early 80’s moved the goal post with every album. He acted as instigator pushing the forms to catch up with his musical whims. Cool jazz, bebop, modal, even pop music all heeding to his nudge. For the project called Everything is Beautiful Robert Glasper got the chance to go into the musical vaults of his idol and soak in the essence of innovation.

It’s not a jump for Glasper to think in terms of innovation, he is a man who lives by the - music is music is music...even when it’s jazz- ethos. Radiohead, Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, Miles...all equally worthy of respect, all tantalizing to a producer like Robert Glasper. Robert is clear in interviews that there is no Robert Glasper Experience, no acoustic trio, no playbook for a guy like him without Miles Davis setting the table. The trumpeter gave license for musicians to approach their work with not just the idea that making something new is good but with a challenge; any musicians, any artist who is true to their craft will have full blown revolution in mind.  The standouts will carry themselves with enough swagger to fully realize their gifts. Robert Glasper and Miles Davis, generations removed but cosmically and musically linked.

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