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Robert Glasper & Friends // Heard's Music + Tech Mash-up presented by SPIN, VIBE and Sterogum @ Mazda Studdio at Empire Garage // SXSW 3/13/2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Robert Glasper & Friends // Heard’s Music + Tech Mash-up presented by SPIN, VIBE and Sterogum @ Mazda Studio at Empire Garage // SXSW 3/13/2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

For every artist we decided to catch at SXSW, we decided to review each performance with our own version of “Five Ws and One H” answering the questions: 1) Who are they, 2) What kind of music do they play, 3) When did they play, 4) Where are they from, 5) Why did we decide to catch them play and 6), How was their performance.

FOR OUR COMPLETE SXSW COVERAGE CLICK HERE!

WHO: Robert Glasper & Friends. Those “Friends” included Terrace Martin, Christian Scott, Taylor McFerrin, Derrick Hodge, and Marcus Gilmore … and Bilal … and Anna Wise … and Phonte … did I forget anybody? lol.

WHAT: Music in its highest form.

WHEN: Heard’s Music + Tech Mash-up presented by SPIN, VIBE and Sterogum @ Mazda Studdio at Empire Garage on 3/13/2017.

WHERE: Houston, Texas.

WHY: I’ve seen Robert Glasper play with his trio (and his friends) on numerous occasions, and every time has been a singularly unique experience. Everything is bigger in Texas, and given that Texas (Houston) is Robert’s home, I anticipated nothing less than a musical spectacle of ridiculous proportions.

HOW:  I don’t know where to begin. Starting at 11:30pm and clocking in at over 2 hours, Robert Glasper and his friends took a capacity crowd on a musical journey that was transcendental.

The group opened the set with an inspired rendition of Miles Davis’ “Walkin”, setting the tone and mood for the rest of the performance. Throughout the evening, each player took turns in the spotlight, improvising like the musical geniuses they are and showcasing their undeniable talent. Robert even let his players debut new works, like when Derrick Hodges and Christian Scott wowed the crowd with the performance of a new song they had recently written.

Robert made it known that what we were all witnessing was a singular moment of musical history. These renowned players were, for the first time- and quite possibly the only time- playing together as a group. They were playing compositions in a way that will never be replicated; inspired by the moment, in the moment, infused with the lifeblood of jazz: improvisation.

Throughout the set, Robert invited more friends up on stage to join in on the fun (i.e. Anna Wise, Phonte, etc), but a personal highlight for me was when Bilal took the mic to perform a classic cut off his debut album “1st Born Second”; the J Dilla produced “Reminisce”. That group … that phenomenally talented group … bringing J Dilla’s music to life was almost too much for me to handle. For me, that was a moment. On my first day at SXSW, I concluded my musical adventures with a musical event that I will most likely never experience again, but will always remember in my heart.

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FOR OUR COMPLETE SXSW COVERAGE CLICK HERE!

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