Pianist and composer Robert Glasper was one of the few popular musicians meaningfully exploring the intersection of rap and jazz back in 2006, a time when there was little contemporary porousness between the two genres. The generally prevailing view then of “America’s classical music” allowed limited crossover or interest to modern pop ears, but jazz has since diversified into fertile fusion with hip hop and Afrocentric rock via (among others) bass guitarist Thundercat, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, singer Esperanza Spalding, rapper Kendrick Lamar, and producer Flying Lotus. Glasper is one of the connecting figures and a lynchpin in this perception shift. His critically acclaimed and popularly well-received Black Radio series married his own fluidly lyrical renditions of jazz and soul standards and new compositions with R&B royalty like Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, and Bilal. As a producer and session musician, he’s collaborated with rappers Anderson Paak, Talib Kweli, and Q-Tip.
For his more intimate jazz shows, Glasper performs as part of a trio alongside bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid. Glasper has spent much of 2017 abroad with a busy international tour schedule, traveling both with his trio and his more eclectic combo, The Experiment. Ending the year on a fruitful note, his final stop in New York until 2018 will be the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he’ll be playing a mix of original music and holiday classics.
To make the most of this concert, I strongly recommend you arrive early for a stroll around the Met; tickets to the show also include museum admission. If the magnificent Michelangelo exhibition is overcrowded and the recently reopened Rodin gallery isn’t to your taste, even the sourest Grinch is likely to be moved by the annual tree and crèche display. As a special bonus for parents, this concert is part of the Met’s Friday Family program, which means that additional tickets for up to three kids (ages 7 to 16) are only $1 apiece per adult ticket purchased.
Why You Should Go: An early Friday evening at the Met that finishes with a knockout set from Glasper’s trio is a great way to celebrate the holiday in style with the whole family.
The Robert Glasper Trio
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue (enter at East 82nd Street), Upper East Side
Friday, December 15
Make it a perfect night around the Upper East Side, courtesy of our experience advisers.