Robert Glasper and intergenerational transmission / "I saw a thousand trains leave the station without me"

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The Robert Glasper Trio at Joe & Wayne Segal's Jazz Showcase in Chicago
by Isaac Perry (Guest Contributor, The Liberator Magazine)

At one point during his performance at The Jazz Showcase in Chicago’s South Loop, Robert Glasper looked up as a member of the audience stood up to leave.

“Yo, where you goin’?” Glasper asked from the stage.

The young hipster, who was attempting to leave the show early in the second set, was seated in the front row of the intimate jazz club. The Robert Glasper Trio was between songs and Glasper was in the midst of one of his impromptu dialogues.

The soon to be departed fan said he had to catch a train. The audience laughed as Glasper playfully embarrassed him. I couldn’t imagine a train so important.

From 8:30 to nearly midnight, the trio -- Glasper on piano, Derrick Hodge on bass, and Mark Colenburg on drums -- performed music that sounded more organic than rehearsed. Piano keys dropped notes from the ceiling and the bass vibes reverberated from somewhere in the earth, often playing like whispered memory in the back of the mind. The drum solos were simply thundercracks that mimicked lightning; they came fast, created a beat worthy of Premo, and slipped back into Glasper’s piano like bolts being retracted into clouds.

This music moved you.

Among the friends at my table was Chicago jazz legend Ari Brown. The trio he watched were descendants, a generation of young black men who’d probably read about gigs that Brown played before they were born. I watched as the old jazzman rocked to the beat and absorbed Glasper’s heat. He mentioned the need for Glasper to do more with his chord changes, make them less monotonous. Then he complimented the pianist’s incredible sense of timing and harmonics. It was good to see the generations connect.

Hip-Hop was the undercurrent of even the softest of the selections The Robert Glasper Trio performed last night. And swimming alongside it was all the music that has been created here in America by Africa’s descendants, musicians who have fought their descent with the ascension of a drum, a rhythm, a rhyme, a mic. More.

In my mind, sitting there and listening to the trio groove, I saw a thousand trains leave the station without me. (source)