Song:Stella By Starlight
Last year when I wrote about pianist Robert Glasper's success straddling jazz and R & B, I suggested that maybe he has abandoned jazz in the pursuit of commercial success and he needs to cool it with the guest vocalists. So what does he do? He records his latest CD live at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles with a jazz trio. No, I don't think Glasper reads this blog. But I'm not the only one who has suggested this and I guess Glasper wanted to prove all the critics wrong and show that he could still play jazz if he wants. This CD was recorded Dec. 2014 and it was released June 2015. And he didn't just choose two random musicians. They are Vicente Archer on bass and Damion Reid on drums. Both guys were in Glasper's trio from his early Blue Note albums including his 2005 debut Canvas. Archer has also played with Donald Harrison and Nicholas Payton. Reid has played with Rudresh Mahanthappa and Steve Lehman. The only guest vocalists on the CD are Musiq Soulchild and Harry Belafonte. Despite the title, the album is not all covers of jazz standards. In fact, Stella By Stralight is the only jazz standard on the CD. That song was written by film composer Victor Young for the 1944 film The Uninvited starring Ray Milland. Ned Washington wrote lyrics for Stella By Starlight in 1946. It was first recorded by Harry James and then Frank Sinatra. Charlie Parker was the first to record Stella By Starlight as a jazz piece followed by Stan Getz and Bud Powell. Glasper also covered songs by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, John Legend and Kendrick Lamar. This CD is recommended to those who want to hear Robert Glasper as a jazz musician. He is currently working on the music for the Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead starring and directed by Don Cheadle. That's a film I am looking forward to. Here's Robert Glasper with Vicente Archer and Damion Reid performing Stella By Starlight at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles Dec. 2014.