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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dave Hause at Morgan’s Pier, Robert Glasper at The Dell, The Paper Kites at World Cafe Live and more

Photo of Dave Hause by Mike Drzal
Photo of Dave Hause by Mike Drzal

Philly native Dave Hause is back in his hometown for a free show at Morgan’s Pier tonight. The singer-songwriter, who has played in a few local punk-rock bands including The Loved Ones, began his solo career back in 2011 with his debut album, Resolutions. Hause released his second solo album, Devour, was released October 2013. Check out a live performance of Hause’s single, “We Could Be Kings,” from his World Cafe Live show back in April. Tickets and more information can be found on the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Eclectic Robert Glasper Experiment returns to Philly to play Dell East in July

GlasperGrammy-award winning keyboardist and producer Robert Glasper does not like to be defined. In a recent interview with the Key, Glasper stated

 “I’m a big house of many rooms, made up of a lot of different things. Jazz is one of them, but there’s a lot of other stuff in there.”

Glasper certainly lived up to that statement with a discography that stretches from jazz to blues to R&B to electronic. Throughout his career, Glasper has worked with a variety of hip-hop and R&B artists such as Mos Def, Kanye West, and Talib Kweli, showcasing his ability to transition effortlessly between music genres.

One of his most iconic works, Black Radio, came out 2012 to critical acclaim, including a Grammy Award for Best R&B album. What makes the album unique is its innovative mix of jazz and R&B and star-studded guest list, with artists like Erkyah Badu and Bilal. Last year, Glasper released Black Radio 2 and is toying with the idea of releasing a third Black Church album. The title for the albums comes from the idea of conserving music after a plane crash, as he explained in a session with the World Cafe.

On Wednesday night, Glasper performed with Philly trombone legend Jeff Bradshaw at the Kimmel Center for a live album recording. He returns to Philly on July 17th with Anthony Hamilton and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds at the Dell East. Tickets can and more information on the show can be found here.

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“A Big House of Many Rooms”: Robert Glasper’s eclectic Black Radio sequel comes to the Tower

Everyone who’s up for an award says that it’s an honor just be nominated, but that sentiment was a bit more believeable for Robert Glasper, a jazz keyboardist who found himself competing against the higher-profile likes of R. Kelly and Tyrese for the Best R&B Album statuette at the 2013 Grammy Awards.

“I’ve walked the red carpet before,” says Glasper, who performed at the 2010 ceremony backing neo-soul singer Maxwell, “but to walk down the red carpet knowing what I was nominated for was a whole different vibe. I loved the fact that I’m a jazz cat and so many people didn’t know who the fuck we were.”

What was even more shocking was that the Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio actually won the award. The album was a fusion of jazz and soul styles that featured guest appearances by a host of R&B and hip-stars including Mos Def, Erykah Badu, and Ledisi – who the RGE will open for at the Tower Theater on May 1.

Glasper fully expected to go home empty-handed, though he felt that if anything the band had a shot at the Best R&B Performance award for which they were also nominated. When Usher beat them out for that honor, Glasper says, “I was like, ‘Ok, I see where this is going. We’re not winning.’ But when they said our name, it was amazing. I feel like we won for so many other people, struggling artists who’ve done great music but because of the way the machine is built right now, real music with integrity doesn’t get any mainstream love. This really opened some doors and gave a lot of artists hope.”

Glasper’s 2013 follow-up, Black Radio 2 (Blue Note), features an even more star-studded line-up than its predecessor, with appearances by Common, Brandy, Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, and Anthony Hamilton, among others. Live, the band itself takes the spotlight, with multi-instrumentalist Casey Benjamin substituting vocoder for some of the vocal songs from the two Black Radio albums – though it wouldn’t be surprising to see the evening’s headliner joining the band as well.

When I spoke to Glasper in late 2011, just prior to the release of the first Black Radio, he called the album “more of a music record for me” than a specically jazz or R&B album effort. Continue reading →

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Robert Glasper and Jill Scott release a collaborative music video for “Calls”

jill scott

Prolific jazz musician/producer Robert Glasper and Philly neo-soul queen Jill Scott have released a music video for “Calls,” their collaboration featured on The Robert Glasper Experience’s much-anticipated LP Black Radio 2. The video, directed by Ace Norton, opens with the anonymous quote “Moving forward is moving on,” before shooting to Scott (donning a dress and hat straight out of the 40′s) in an old Cadillac stuck at a red light that ironically won’t turn green.

The video, hazy and dream-like in nature, perfectly accompanies the ethereal vocals of Scott that float effortlessly above Glasper’s dreamy piano chords. Described as “a story of a metaphysical romantic connection partly quantified in unanswered phone calls,” the video displays palpable chemistry between Scott and Glasper, who look and sound as if they have been working together their whole lives. During one of the most moving parts of the video, Scott is seen staring longingly at Glasper on the piano, as she echoes the lyrics “Look up, then there’s, a beautiful man with a kind heart”. You’ll have to watch the full video to see how the beautifully constructed story unfolds.

Black Radio 2 is the follow-up album to the 2012 Grammy Award winning Black Radio, which won for Best R&B Album. Black Radio 2 features a slew of collaborations, ranging from artists like Faith Evans and Norah Jones to award-winning songwriters such as Claude Kelly (Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson) and Andrea Martin (Angie Stone, Monica). The result promises to be a soulful fusion of jazz, R&B, and hip-hop not to be missed. The Robert Glasper Experiment comes to World Cafe Live at the Queen on Monday, November 4th. Tickets and information can be found here.

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Travel through time with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (kicking off this Thursday, 3/28)

PIFAThe Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts gets underway this Thursday, March 28th and will run through April 27th.  With homebase returning to The Kimmel Center and a new theme of time travel this year, the month-long event will use performances, lectures and exihibitions to explore past moments in history including the discovery of America, the lunar landing and the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Below, check out a few musical highlights that you won’t want to miss, including a selection of free concerts happening in the Kimmel Center’s “Time Travel Plaza” (where you will also find a spiraling time machine).

Last Call at the Downbeat (4/5-4/13, Red Room at the Society Hill Playhouse):  Learn about Philadelphia’s jazz scene in the forties with this staged retrospective of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.  Watch a short video about the play from show producers Jazz Bridge below.

Prima! Rufus! Judy! (4/21, Verizon Hall): Rufus Wainwright reprises Judy Garland’s return to the stage with selections from her 1961 Carnegie Hall performance.  The evening will begin with excerpts from Wainwright’s own opera Prima Donna.  Watch Wainwright perform “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” below.

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