Growing up in Houston, Texas, Robert Glasper had a strong musical influence in his mother, who played piano and sang gospel music in church as well as in jazz and blues clubs in Houston. He attended the Houston High School for the Performing Arts and moved to New York City to study at The New School. While still in school he was already playing with Christian McBride and Kenny Garrett, and he went on to play with Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, and Roy Hargrove.
Glasper has long kept one foot planted firmly in jazz and the other in hip-hop. His gig at the Blue Note Jazz Club earlier this year became a freestyle jam session when Kanye West, Mos Def, and Lupe Fiasco crashed the stage. The Los Angeles Times once wrote that "it's a short list of jazz pianists who have the wherewithal to drop a J Dilla reference into a Thelonious Monk cover, but not many jazz pianists are Robert Glasper," adding that "he's equally comfortable in the worlds of hip-hop and jazz" and praising the organic way in which he "builds a bridge between his two musical touchstones." After releasing his debut album Mood on the Fresh Sound label in 2003, followed by two buzzed-about Blue Note albums with his acoustic Trio - Canvas (2005) and In My Element (2007) - Glasper perfectly captured his unique musical duality with Double-Booked (2009), an album that juxtaposed his Trio and Experiment bands and earned the keyboardist his first Grammy nomination.
Now, on February 28th, 2012, the Robert Glasper Experiment will release Black Radio (Blue Note Records/EMI), a future landmark album that boldly stakes out new musical territory and transcends any notion of genre, drawing from jazz, hip hop, R&B, and rock, but refusing to be pinned down by any one tag. The first full-length album from the Grammy-nominated keyboardist's electric Experiment band - saxophonist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Chris Dave - Black Radio also features many of Glasper's famous friends from the spectrum of urban music, seamlessly incorporating appearances from a jaw-dropping roll call of special guests including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra), KING, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Mos Def, Musiq Soulchild, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Stokley Williams (of Mint Condition).