Things to do in Miami: Robert Glasper at North Beach Bandshell, June 12, 2021
The last time Robert Glasper was scheduled to perform in Miami seems like ages ago. The acclaimed jazz-fusion pianist and composer had planned to team up with the classically styled contemporary pop-meets-classic orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble for two shows at the New World Center in Miami Beach in March 2020.
Sadly, the entire concert industry has been terrified of the pandemic. The performances were canceled at the last minute, even after Nu Deco artistic director Sam Hyken wrote a complete new composition especially for these shows.
“It was happening for everyone, so it wasn’t like we were in unique situations. But it was definitely new ground for us, “Hyken said. New times during an interview in July 2020. “We were in the process of leading to this very important collaboration. Once the dust settled a little, we just had to reassess where everything was.
(With gigs not on his schedule for the foreseeable future and plane travel on hiatus, Glasper found himself stranded in Miami for two weeks after the Nu Deco shows were canceled.)
Now, 15 months later, Glasper will return to South Florida for a pair of outdoor performances at the North Beach Bandshell on June 12. Presented by the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club of New York in partnership with the Rhythm Foundation, the two-show concert (the first at 5 p.m. followed by an evening performance at 9 p.m.) will be Glasper’s first performance in front of fans. as the concert industry reopens cautiously as the summer months approach.
Despite his inability to generate income on tour and performing in front of fans, Glasper has managed to make the most of the past 15 months on the recording side of his career. The pianist has formed a jazz-fusion supergroup with Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin and 9th Wonder under the nickname Dinner Party; the band released an acclaimed self-titled debut album in July 2020. In February, Blue Note Records / Capitol released seven remarkable live recordings de Glasper alongside the collective R + R = Now, initially recorded during his one-month residency at the Blue Note Jazz Club in October 2018.
Glasper also continued the momentum to start the new year by winning his fourth Grammy Award for his soul collaboration “Better Than I Imagined” with HER and Meshell Ndegeocello in the category “Best R&B Song”. The track, released in August 2020, is Glasper’s debut single, which is yet to be released. Black radio 3, the highly anticipated follow-up album from 2013 Black radio 2.
With nothing but recording plans to keep him busy throughout the pandemic, Glasper is now joining the rest of the live music community as hopefully awaits the return of in-person concerts.
New times recently connected with Glasper to discuss his return to Miami, his successes in the COVID era, his collaboration with the next generation of talented black artists, and more.
New times: You have gigs coming up in Miami and New York in June, which will be your first performances with fans since spring 2020. What’s your state of mind right now as you prepare to return to public gigs?
Glasper: Relief [laughs]. I was waiting to play in front of people. You don’t realize how much audiences really mean to you until you’ve done a bunch of streaming shows without an audience, and you realize that the fans are just as important to the performance as the musicians. . I can’t wait to share this experience with them.
New times: In a way, you’re picking up where you left off with your Miami fans since you couldn’t perform with the Nu Deco Ensemble last March.
Glasper: We did a rehearsal and then the next day it was canceled. It was like, ‘Ugh, man!’ I stayed in Miami for two weeks right after that because they told us we couldn’t fly to New York or Los Angeles. It’s so funny; I didn’t even think about it, I didn’t know this was the last gig I was going to do, and now I’m picking up where I left off and playing a gig there. I was really looking forward to playing in Miami so I’m really happy that now we have the chance to try it again.
i hope we can do it [Nu Deco] show with the orchestra. The rehearsal was amazing, so I really hope we can make it [the show] for real.
New times: Did the R + R = Now and Dinner Party projects help you stay focused on your creativity despite what was going on in the world?
Glasper: Absolutely. Releasing the R + R record was great because it was a live album, and I felt like it gave people a live experience even when they were at home. It was live in the club. You can hear the glasses clink, the people talking. I think we’ve given people a little bit of the spirit to be there. The Dinner Party album was also great because, like you said, the political and social issues that were happening allowed us to tap into some of those situations in the music. I also did “Better Than I Imagined” with HER, and we ended up winning a Grammy for that. So all of these things definitely made the pandemic easier. I did a lot of film music and music [television] series and things of that nature, so I stayed busy.
New times: Do you feel like you will always have a unique connection to these album projects given that they came out at such an extraordinary time?
Glasper: Yes of course. When you release an album during COVID, I think you are someone who is helping people cope. Music is medicine for a lot of people, it’s like giving medicine to the world. I think it’s our duty as artists to do this in these times when people need music the most. In reality, [output of] instrumental music has actually increased since COVID. I think it’s a good time for music in the sense of being able to release something and people who really want music.
New times: You’ve performed alongside several phenomenal emerging artists over the years. Now that you’ve collaborated with HER, Leon Bridges and Anderson .Paak, what have you taken away from your experiences working with this new generation of artists?
Glasper: It’s good. I’m happy to be able to rejuvenate the people who bring real music to life. Music has changed, and with that change, people don’t have to work that hard or train that much – or don’t have to be that good – and release a hit song. [Laughs] So on this day of this, I’m happy that there are young artists who are proud of their craft, who practice and who want to be great at their craft.
New times: Fans waited eight years for the follow-up to Black radio 2. Is Black radio 3 will be released this year?
Glasper: Sometimes this year. That’s all I can say, however. I can’t talk about anything else. Everything hasn’t been legally closed yet, so I can’t say who’s on it or give details, but I’m careful Black radio 3 this year of course.
Robert Glasper. 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, June 12 at North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-453-2897; northbeachbandshell.com. Tickets cost $ 45 to $ 65.
Keep Miami New Times Free … Since we started Miami New Timeshe has been defined as Miami’s free and independent voice, and we would love to see it that way. Providing our readers with free access to cutting edge coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with bold reporting, sleek writing, and staff who have won it all, from the Society of Professional’s Sigma Delta Chi Feature Film Writing Award Journalists at the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with the existence of local journalism under siege and declines in advertising revenue having a greater impact, it is more important than ever for us to rally our support for funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our “I Support” membership program, which allows us to continue to cover Miami without payment walls.