Robert Glasper may be fresh off remixing ArtScience with Kaytranada, but the talented musician is already prepping the release of his next project, dropping next month.
This time around, Glasper has formed a supergroup called R+R=NOW with a few like-minded individuals and visionary players—including Terrace Martin on synthesizer and vocoder, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on trumpet, Derrick Hodge on bass, Taylor McFerrin on synth and beatbox, and newcomer Justin Tyson on drums.
“R+R stands for Reflect and Respond” says Glasper. “When you reflect what’s going on in your time and respond to that, you can’t not be relevant. So ‘R’ plus ‘R’ equals ‘NOW.'”
Originally coming together in 2017 when Glasper was asked to put together an all-star line-up for a SXSW show in Austin. The idea of an album came after the group couldn’t miss when it came to the music.
“There was no rehearsal and no plan. Just a quick soundcheck,” Glasper reflects. “And yet, we were vibing, listening to each other, and coming up with stuff on the spot that was so dope, when it was time to figure out what my next album for Blue Note would be, I was like ‘We should do this.’ I needed to take the same band and method to the studio.”
Doing just that, Glasper and company got together for a weekend in Hollywood’s Henson Recording Studio and proceeded to record an album’s worth of music, comprised of their first run through each song.
“I love the first take because it’s the most honest take,” says Glasper. “There’s something about the spirit of it. I don’t record until I’m ready and I don’t do extra takes just to do it—you burn out. We’d chill, watch some basketball, have some drinks, and hit record when the vibe was right.”
“Everybody understood that the biggest ego in the room was the music,” Terrace Martin added. ” In that type of project, with that type of band, it’s easy for everyone to try and be jazz Olympic hero. The fact that we respected the air between us is something I think people will feel and see as an example: to display patience, to love each other, to move as one.”
The result, Collagically Speaking seamlessly adheres neo-soul to future-funk, West Coast jazz of the moment to astral electronica, instrumental hip-hop to musique concrète, and avant-garde to classical, with themes of love, systemic bigotry, the women’s movement, quiet power, wild creativity, personal loss and growth.
“The sound, the unplanned guests (ranging from Don Cheadle and Terry Crews to Stalley and Goapele), the spontaneity of the whole thing, and all of us putting in so many beautiful colors to make one big beautiful thing… the album is a record of that weekend, of that rare moment in time,” he continues. “I always say that the universe is my co-producer.”
To kick off the rollout for the album, R+R=NOW have released the enticing lead single, “Change of Tone,” which can be heard below. Press play and vibe out.