The Robert Glasper Experiment takes listeners to a rare place where jazz, hip-hop, funk, R&B and rock gracefully coexist. Glasper's groundbreaking Black Radio has become an artistic and commercial success, winning the 2013 Grammy for Best R&B Album by transcending traditional R&B while drawing on myriad influences showcased by such talents as Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Lupe Fiasco and Mos Def. "To me, it's R&B with hip-hop and jazz influences," says the pianist and composer, who performs April 20 at the Ohio Theatre as part of the Tri-C JazzFest. "It's very free and honest music, not cookie-cutter music."
Featuring new takes on songs by Sade, David Bowie and Nirvana, Black Radio has expanded Glasper's audience. "Our live shows have a healthy dose of jazz, hip-hop and R&B," he says. "It's like Herbie [Hancock] says, 'Improvisation lends itself to change. And music has always been about change.' "
1519 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, 216-241-6000, tricjazzfest.com