Robert Glasper - Jazz Intellectual and Hip Hop Hooligan in One
24 May, 2012
Robert Glasper - Jazz Intellectual and Hip Hop Hooligan in One

On May 21, Tbilisi Event Hall hosted an unprecedented show – mix of hip hop, electronic music and jazz – featuring Robert Glasper Experiment. The performer himself - Robert Glasper – together with his band, was a total fusion – a young black man, dressed in overalls and wearing eye-glasses, a real intellectual but a real bad guy at the same time. 

It is already a bold statement – hip hop and jazz together. You won’t imagine it, you have

to watch and listen to it live. I personally was mesmerized at first sight by the impressive visual of young Robert Glasper who at his rather early age has managed to conquer covers of all the leading jazz magazines of the world.
“Experiment is called because it represents the mix of various musical directions. He is a very interesting person because he plays simultaneously pop, jazz and electronic music.  He is the artist for whom all the big festivals are fighting for. However, we were quicker than others and he is in Tbilisi today,” Misha Giorgadze, one of the founders of Eastern Promotion, company in charge of Jazz series told us.  
Kakha Tolordava, journalist and author of the program “Unknown Music” also made his predictions just at the start of the concert with Georgian Journal: “There are two things that matter and that stand out from one another: one is who is Robert Glasper and the second is how he will perform in Tbilisi. It is the truth for all the musicians. Big names do not necessarily mean the great performance at the particular evening. It depends on many things like how was the flight, how they were accepted, what kind of dinner they had, what kind of weather was there, etc. Robert Glasper is a very important figure – and it is proved by the fact that he is on the covers of the most prominent jazz magazines in the world, including Jazz Times. It means that he is a very topical musician. He attempts to fit jazz with other genres, beginning with hip hop and ending with pop. It is always interesting what he receives and what he gives out. The performance either works or not. The current market is quite overfilled with musicians and the younger generation is always the most interesting layer and this is the matter of how they treat their musical heritage they came into, what is their own filter, rather than just the virtuous performance of traditional pieces.”
There were hardly such great storms of applauds at previous jazz series. Dini Virsaladze, Georgian female jazz pianist commented: “I am strongly impressed. He is very modern, also a great virtuous. He had a range of extremely interesting arrangements. His sound is unforgettable. He is a great star. I knew him but I have never had a chance to attend his concerts abroad as there tickets were sold outs. Today, I am very happy. He is a modern thinker really. I do not back just making circles round and round. My ear longs for something diverse and I got it today.”
It is also the fact that jazz is not very much cherished by the youth. However, the situation might be changing a little, at least, locally. Natia Benashvili was among those young people who was in rapture with excitement. She admits that she is not a regular attendant of jazz series, but the last two jazz series were among those she chose to visit. “I like it. It is a very conceptual music for me and, the one that you have to listen to quietly and contemplate. I had other anticipation but it actually turned out to be better. They are making improvisations live, which is very interesting – the concept of experiment itself inspires me a lot.”
Giorgi Kereselidze, one of the founders of Eastern Promotion noted: “I attended Glasper’s concert at North Sea Jazz Festival last year and I approximately knew what kind of music he would offer us. However, he has brought a novelty together with Casey Benjamin. There was a bit different team last year. Today, a different performance was on and people enjoyed it very much. The aim of our company is exactly this – to offer diversity through jazz series. This is the mix of modern creative, jazz-rock etc. This was very rhythmic and therefore very close to the youth.”    
In spite of the sad fact that the jazz series has come to its logical end, Black Sea Jazz Festival is ahead to chill out the hot July days, which will be traditionally held in Batumi city from 17 to 22 of July. Unlike Tbilisi Jazz Festival, Black Sea is more aimed at the younger audience that will be accompanied by beautiful environment of sparkling Batumi city and long-awaited summer season.

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