Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ledisi concert review

Last night I went to see R & B singer Ledisi and The Robert Glasper Experiment at the Danforth Music Hall. For some reason, they decided to take the seats out of the hall and have everyone stand. I guess they were hoping it would turn into a dance floor. Normally I wouldn't go to a concert with that kind of seating because I can't stand and visibility could be a problem. But I really wanted to see Ledisi. I don't know how the hall feels about this in retrospect but the show was not sold out and nobody danced. They should have left the seats in. I probably won't go to shows with that kind of seating arrangement in the future. But I did enjoy the show. Houston born jazz pianist Robert Glasper opened the show with his neo soul group The Robert Glasper Experiment. He also tours with a jazz group. Glasper has become a big deal since his 2012 CD Black Radio won a Best R & B Album Grammy. His latest CD Black Radio 2 features guest appearances by singers like Jill Scott, Marsha Ambrosius and Anthony Hamilton. none of them are on this tour. The band is Robert Glasper on keyboards, Casey Benjamin on sax and vocals, Derrick Hodge on bass and Mark Colenburg on drums. I liked the solos by the individual musicians but Benjamin's vocals went through electronic altering like auto tune. I can take that in small doses but not for 45 minutes. I guess the problem is Glasper has all these guest vocalists on his albums and he can't reproduce it on stage. It's a little bit of a disconnect but Glasper has talent. Ledisi is on tour to support her new CD The Truth. There's no question that she has gotten more commercial since I first heard her in 2007. Back then she was singing in small clubs. Now she has dancers and Ledisi changes costumes several times. Though I really enjoyed Ledisi's performance, I can't help but think that I would enjoy her more in a small club singing jazz. Success can be a double edged sword. Ledisi is still one of the best singers around. But maybe she's losing some of the things I liked about her when I first heard her. And as I said, the show wasn't sold out. So maybe in Canada, she would be better off doing smaller shows.

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