meta-scriptRobert Glasper & Terrace Martin On Removing Their Egos And Creating Their GRAMMY-Nominated Collaboration 'Dinner Party: Dessert' |
Robert Glasper & Terrace Martin On Removing Their Egos And Creating Their GRAMMY-Nominated Collaboration 'Dinner Party: Dessert'
(L-R): Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, 9th Wonder

Photos (L-R): Jim Dyson, Daniel Knighton, Dave Simpson, Richard Bord/WireImage (All Via Getty Images)


Robert Glasper & Terrace Martin On Removing Their Egos And Creating Their GRAMMY-Nominated Collaboration 'Dinner Party: Dessert'

"No losing, just learning": Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, and 9th Wonder have been nominated for Best Progressive R&B Album at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards. Glasper and Martin open up about how the experiences that formed their project.

GRAMMYs/Mar 10, 2022 - 08:08 pm

Dinner Party is a distinctly egoless organization, but it wasn't that way by default. Like stones smoothed by waves through the ages, Robert Glasper and Terrace Martin have been humbled time and time again. There was the time Martin got too big-headed on tour with Snoop Dogg and got the pink slip in his hotel room, losing almost his entire income in an instant. For Glasper, there are too many anecdotes to pick just one.

"I don't have an ego when it comes to creativity, because it'll prevent you from creating real estate for your family and for yourself," says Martin, a rapper, saxophonist, producer and four-time GRAMMY nominee. "To be closed-minded is not about just your mind being closed. Your health is closed; your relationships are closed; your finances are closed; everything is closed." 

"Oh, I've been taught a lesson," Glasper, a four-time GRAMMY-winning keyboardist and producer, tells "And then you take that lesson and move on, because you realize: 'OK, that didn't work out for me. Let me change my whole thought process.'" Despite any number of setbacks along the way, Glasper has enjoyed a dynamite career on his own terms. He sums it all up in four words: "No losing. Just learning."

These decades of learning the hard way are why Dinner Party — a project between Glasper; Martin; saxophonist Kamasi Washington; and producer, DJ and MC 9th Wonder — is stress-free and stylistically borderless. In 2020, they released a self-titled EP to rave reviews; the following year, they upgraded it. 

Their remix album, Dinner Party: Dessert, has been nominated for Best Progressive R&B Album at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards. Dessert brings famous friends to the proverbial table, among them Herbie Hancock and Tank and the Bangas, and is narrated by Snoop Dogg. "I didn't know Snoop wanted to narrate it!" the man he fired, Martin, says astonishedly. "He was like, 'Keep the mic on.'" Circle closed, and lesson learned.

While you wait to see if the foursome will win the golden gramophone on April 3, read on for a revealing interview with Glasper and Martin about the forces that shaped them as artists — and enabled them to create together without a sliver of pomposity.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

How did you guys react when you learned you'd been nominated?

Martin: "Baby, get the dress ready."

Glasper: "Whatcha wearin'?"

Martin: "I've only got one ticket, so you'd better make it right!" 

Glasper: It was cool because we've both been nominated many times separately, obviously. It's just dope to get nominated with your brother on a project that y'all worked on during COVID — you know what I mean? 

Martin: And literally, the idea came from Rob and me backstage at a show. So, from the idea to this has always been a warm thing. That s*** works.

Glasper: We've known each other since we were 15 at jazz camp! So, you go from talking about jazz camp to going to the GRAMMYs together! It makes it feel a little different.

The original Dinner Party album was suffused with camaraderie. What inspired you guys to bring more people into the picture?

Martin: Jimmy Iovine.

Glasper: Yep, Jimmy.

Martin: Robert and I went to Jimmy's house for dinner. Me, Rob, Dr. Dre, a few other cats. [Director] Allen Hughes was there. And Jimmy was so hyped about the first Dinner Party album that he called us for dinner. He was telling us how he loved it; he looked at us and was like, "Yo, you guys should do it again and get all your rapper friends. Get all your this; get all your that."

I was kind of like
 [Meekly] "OK, yeah, yeah, yeah." But then Rob was like, "Ay, let's do that s***." So, we just started going through the motions. We tapped back in with Jimmy a few times. Throughout the pandemic, we were getting a million COVID tests to go talk to Jimmy. We were hanging down here, but we were getting consulting from Jimmy Iovine!

Glasper: You have to get a COVID test to talk to Jimmy Iovine on the phone! [Laughs.] It was real, Jack!

Martin: Matter of fact, Jimmy was the first rapid test we did!

Glasper: He sent a mess to the house the first time!

Martin: Jimmy had that s***, bro, before anybody here heard about that s***! He had a nurse come with the whole s*** on!

Iovine is a music-biz legend. What’s he like to hang out with? 

Martin: Rich.

Glasper: [Laughs.] He just does things that aren't in your stratosphere. Just like, "Oh, really? Really?"

We were at his house, and we were talking about Nobu. We were eating Nobu food and we were like, "Oh, you got Nobu delivered to the house!" He's like, "Oh, no, no, no. They're here in my kitchen! I got the staff from Nobu to come to my kitchen and cook it! That's what we're eating!"

Martin: It's different. It's different. A lot of folks talk the talk, but Jimmy walks the walk — all the way from [being] a true student of the music and master of hearing things to putting deals together. 

When I hear Snoop and Dr. Dre and everybody talk about him, his whole thing is "His ideas work." If you listen, his ideas work. We don't have any business with him — we're not signed to Jimmy — but he's a friend now, and he offered information that we took. And now, we're GRAMMY-nominated.

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It seems like Iovine has uncanny decision-making abilities.

Martin: He's been in front of a change in music four times. He has a pretty good idea — no matter what genre or whatever. The first thing that he said when Robert and I walked into the room… 

Glasper: "I hate jazz." 

Martin: Yes!

[Both laugh.]

Glasper: He was like, "I remember in the '70s, I used to work in a record store, and blah blah blah blah blah! I hated jazz music! I hated it! But Dinner Party… I love it! It's different!" He went on and on and on. We were like, "Oh, snap."

That's a wild thing to say.

Martin: No, no, no, no, no, no. I want to change that. It's not a wild thing to say. If you're not into jazz, like, I don't like green peas. I hate green peas. It's not wild to say I don't like green peas. I hate that s***. I don't like certain music; I hate that s***. So when he said that, I didn't take it offensively.

First of all, cats like me and Robert, we've been trained — and trained ourselves — to be such vast artists. We also work in hip-hop, where a lot of hip-hop motherf***ers don't like jazz. A lot of jazz guys don't like hip-hop.

I think that's what makes Robert and myself special in that light — to where you can say what you want to say, because we can relate to you in every kind of way. And I think that's why the Dinner Party record is like that.

It didn't bother us when he said that, because hate jazz sometimes. And not only do I play it, but I've lived what people read about the jazz life. I hate hip-hop sometimes! I don't like everything every day. So when he said that, that would have destroyed a lot of artists that I know…

Glasper: Right.

Martin: …but when he said that, I was like, "Well, shoot. Whatcha like?"

What led you two to be musically omnivorous?

Glasper: I think because African-Americans have given America so many different styles of music. It's in our blood. All the music comes from our bloodline, from rock to jazz to hip-hop to gospel to R&B. You can keep going on and on and on and on and on. It's not so far-fetched.

People have been like, "Why do you like rock music? Why do you mix rock and jazz? Why do you mix rock, jazz and R&B?" That's like asking, "Why are your brothers and sisters playing with each other?" 

We both come from musical households. My mom was a musician, and she loved all styles of music. His dad is a musician and loves all styles of music. So, we just came up under that like it was nothing. Blurred lines. 

Martin: Not only were our parents doing music, but they did it for a living as well. When your mom and dad are doing gigs, every gig ain't no jazz gig. It's clubs, bar mitzvahs…

Glasper: Survival gigs.

Martin: They're survival gigs. If you saw me in L.A. early in my life, you wouldn't believe I played saxophone. I was playing keyboards, playing Top 40; Frankie, Beverly and Maze; and the new Usher song that just came out.

Glasper: When I first met Kamasi [Washington], he was on keys with Chaka Khan in New York, at B.B. King's.

Martin: Working.

Glasper: I had no idea he played sax! I thought he was a keyboard player.

When you're coming up as a professional musician, you often have to know many different styles and change directions on a dime. So, perhaps that was passed down to you guys.

Martin: It was passed on to be an adult and survive before music. It was passed on to work.

Man, I asked Quincy Jones one time, "What's the difference between self-confidence and ego?" He said, "Ego prevents you from going to the bank."

I don't have an ego when it comes to creativity — and I know Rob doesn't either — because it'll prevent you from creating real estate for your family and for yourself. To be closed-minded is not about just your mind being closed. Your health is closed; your relationships are closed; your finances are closed; everything is closed.

I started noticing that in certain artists. The cats that did one thing, and one thing well. But when s*** changed up, it was bad. I don't like looking bad. I just don't. I don't like being uncomfortable. 

Rob and I love all kinds of music. That's the bottom line. I'm giving you the science to that. We've got to love it all.

The longer I'm in the music industry, the more I realize that nothing is off-limits. There's a kernel of value even in music you can't stand — if not for you, then for someone else.

Martin: Not to drop another name, but these are our friends: Herbie Hancock always said, "You can find beauty within every problem."

Glasper: You can hear something and say, "Oh, so that's why that doesn't work." No losing. Just learning.

How did you choose who you'd include on Dinner Party: Dessert?

Glasper: Terrace was like, "Yo, I have a young rapper friend who wants to get on. Can we please let him narrate the whole thing?" I was like, "Who?" He was like, "Snoop Dogg." I said, "Who the hell is that?"

Martin: [Laughs.] 

Glasper: This whole thing is about helping out Terrace's friends who are not known, really. I'm the keyboard player, and he wanted to bring in some guy named Herbie to play a song! 

Martin: It was easy because I always tell everybody: "Relationships are key in the music business." Everywhere, but in music especially.

One thing that Rob and I have done with artists is to walk into their records, no ego, and give them all of us — and leave asking for nothing. When you finally understand that and we're all on the same page, it's not that hard to do.

With managers and lawyers, it's always a thing — but with artists, it's very smooth. Everybody wanted to be part of it, though! I didn't know Snoop wanted to narrate it! He was like, "Keep the mic on." 

How do you engender an environment where nobody artistically butts heads?

Martin: Kill the ego.

Glasper: Absolutely. 

Martin: That's it. If you've got an ego, bring some good food, wine, weed. Laugh and talk. Ask people how their families are doing. No ego.

It's not like you're asking artists to be in a room with slappers as well, too. Everybody's at a certain level where that's not even a thought to even bring ego in. Everybody is at this high level, so there's no room for any ego. We're all on this plane where it's like, "Let's all coexist and be together."

Was it a process for you both to dismantle your egos, or is that something that comes naturally to you?

Glasper: Oh, I've been taught a lesson. [Laughs.] 

Martin: We all have. 

Glasper: And then you take that lesson and move on, because you realize: "OK, that didn't work out for me. Let me change my whole thought process."

Martin: I was taught a lesson. I was touring with Snoop for years — six, seven years. Snoop was one of my best friends, and he fired me — sent me home. My job was to do the letters and put them under the hotel door: "Thank you, your services are no more, here's a plane ticket."

One day, I was at my hotel, and my ego went crazy for the whole tour. And I heard something go [Mimics paper sliding] "Ftttp!" I was like, "I know that sound!" I went to the door, and it was the envelope I used to do! It took me 10 minutes to open that motherf***er.

Snoop taught me a big lesson because I thought I could never get fired from anything in my life. I thought I was just it. Snoop had hired a band, and I didn't like the way certain band members played. I was being mean and arrogant to them; my ego was out of control. I was being a spoiled f***ing person, and I lost everything. 

That time, Snoop Dogg was 95 percent of my income, if not 98 percent. The other two percent was breeding pit bulls and selling them, which was nothing. At that time, it got bad financially. I said, "Remember what Quincy Jones said? My ego kept me from the bank." 

So, I was like "Even if I have an ego, I'm going to hide that motherf***er. Hard.

Glasper: Not to bring him up again, but Herbie said one time, "Music is what you do. Everyone's a person first. And what you do is what you do after that, but you're a person first." At the end of the day, you can lose what you do. It can be no more, and then you're just left with who you are. 

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The Recording Academy’s Los Angeles Chapter Honored Its Musical Family At 2024 GRAMMY Nominee Celebration
Robert Glasper performs at Los Angeles Chapter Nominee Celebration 2024.

Photo: Jerod Harris / Getty Images for The Recording Academy


The Recording Academy’s Los Angeles Chapter Honored Its Musical Family At 2024 GRAMMY Nominee Celebration

The unofficial kick-off to GRAMMY Week brought people from every corner of the music industry together for a sparkling celebration of Los Angeles' talents.

GRAMMYs/Jan 31, 2024 - 05:26 pm

Hundreds of music professionals gathered Jan. 27 for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy’s annual nominee celebration, held at NeueHouse Hollywood. Hailed by Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. as the "unofficial kickoff to GRAMMY Week," the event featured performances by three of this year’s nominees from the chapter: Gaby Moreno, Robert Glasper, and Jordin Sparks

Chapter Board Vice President Lynne Earls said that the unofficial theme for both the board and the chapter this year is "belonging," and those vibes certainly trickled down to the nominee celebration. People from every part of the recording industry came together to enjoy brunch, have some drinks, and mix and mingle. 

Groups of attendees called out friendly greetings to each other, catching up over mimosas and waffles, and attendees exchanged hugs while clad in everything from cocktail dresses to platform combat boots. Not unlike at the actual GRAMMY Awards, fashion was truly on parade at the nominee celebration. Attendees rocked fully bedazzled suits, bespoke leather jackets, and plush safari print hoodies; at least one crystal-covered clutch resembling an old school cassette was spotted.

While many attendees at the event undoubtedly hope to take home a golden gramophone on Feb. 4, Mason took pains to remind the room that being nominated for the award is just as life-changing. "Being a GRAMMY nominee… that goes with you for your entire life and your entire career. On your bio, it's always going to say ‘GRAMMY nominee,’ and hopefully it's going to say ‘GRAMMY winner.’"

In his remarks, Recording Academy President Panos Panay agreed with Mason but made a special effort to remind attendees that being a member of the GRAMMY family is more than just attending an awards show once a year. 

"We're known for the GRAMMYs, which are the big graduation ceremony … but what's important to know is that the Academy works 365 days a year," he said. "We're here to advocate for the creative class." He encouraged non-member attendees to join the Academy, saying "We really would love to have you become a member of this incredible group of professionals." 

Qiana Conley Akinro, the Senior Executive Director of the Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter, also encouraged attendees to stop into the D.R.E.A.M. Lounge on the second floor of NeueHouse, which had been set up in partnership with Pacific Bridge Arts, Paper Magazine, and Netflix and featured a gifting suite full of Hallmark Mahogany items and a bloom bar by Postal Petals. Several panels were held in the space, which was given the D.R.E.A.M. acronym from the phrase "Diversity Reimagined Engaging All Musicians." Earls talked about her work with Women In The Mix and Academy Proud, while Academy Governor Kev Nish hosted a panel talking about the Gold Music Alliance, which aims to boost the impact of Pan-Asian people within both the GRAMMY organization and the recording industry.

After the panels, various nominees stopped by the D.R.E.A.M. video studio to give testimonials about how they found out they’d been honored. Best Jazz Arrangement, Instrument and Vocals nominee Maria Mendes relayed the importance of being the first Portuguese person nominated for a GRAMMY in the category, as well as her pride in repping her country’s music. Mendes even shouted out the jewelry and fashion designers behind her upcoming GRAMMY ceremony look, both of which are from Mendes’ home country. 

Colombian singer and Best Latin Pop Album nominee AleMor said she’s proud to represent her home country and independent artists. "I'm honored that I get to be here, and I am grateful that I'm alive at the same time as all of the people that are alive now," she told onlookers. "I think music is like invisible medicine, you know, like you listen to a song and it might make you feel good and you have no idea why. We are little magicians in the world, We get to change people's moods, and we get to change the way people see life."

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

The Los Angeles Chapter Nominee Celebration was made possible by generous support from Premier Sponsor Netflix, Co-Presenting Sponsors Pacific Bridges Arts, Paper Magazine, Official Sponsors SESAC Latin and NeueHouse Hollywood, and Gifting Sponsors Hallmark Mahogany, HYPNO, Fox Dog Productions, the Canadian Consulate, and VYDIA.

A Year In Alternative Jazz: 10 Albums To Understand The New GRAMMYs Category
Linda May Han Oh

Photo: Shervin Lainez


A Year In Alternative Jazz: 10 Albums To Understand The New GRAMMYs Category

"Alternative jazz" may not be a bandied-about term in the jazz world, but it's a helpful lens to view the "genre-blending, envelope-pushing hybrid" that defines a new category at the 2024 GRAMMYs. Here are 10 albums from 2023 that rise to this definition.

GRAMMYs/Jan 9, 2024 - 02:47 pm

What, exactly, is "alternative jazz"? After that new category was announced ahead of the 2024 GRAMMYs nominations, inquiring minds wanted to know. The "alternative" descriptor is usually tied to rock, pop or dance — not typically jazz, which gets qualifiers like "out" or "avant-garde."

However, the introduction of the Best Alternative Jazz Album category does shoehorn anything into the lexicon. Rather, it commensurately clarifies and expands the boundaries of this global artform.

According to the Recording Academy, alternative jazz "may be defined as a genre-blending, envelope-pushing hybrid that mixes jazz (improvisation, interaction, harmony, rhythm, arrangements, composition, and style) with other genres… it may also include the contemporary production techniques/instrumentation associated with other genres."

And the 2024 GRAMMY nominees for Best Alternative Jazz Album live up to this dictum: Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily's Love in Exile; Louis Cole's Quality Over Opinion; Kurt Elling, Charlie Hunter and SuperBlue's SuperBlue: The Iridescent Spree; Cory Henry's Live at the Piano; and Meshell Ndegeocello's The Omnichord Real Book.

Sure, these were the standard bearers of alternative jazz over the past year and change — as far as Recording Academy Membership is concerned. But these are only five albums; they amount to a cross section. With that in mind, read on for 10 additional albums from 2023 that fall under the umbrella of alternative jazz.

Allison Miller - Rivers in Our Veins

The supple and innovative drummer and composer Allison Miller often works in highly cerebral, conceptual spaces. After all, her last suite, Rivers in Our Veins, involves a jazz band, three dancers and video projections.

Therein, Miller chose one of the most universal themes out there: how rivers shape our lives and communities, and how we must act as their stewards. Featuring violinist Jenny Scheinman, trumpeter Jason Palmer, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, keyboardist and accordionist Carmen Staff, and upright bassist Todd SickafooseRivers in Our Veins homes in on the James, Delaware, Potomac, Hudson, and Susquehanna.

And just as these eastern U.S. waterways serve all walks of life, Rivers in Our Veins defies category. And it also blurs two crucial aspects of Miller's life and career.

"I get to marry my environmentalism and my activism with music," she told District Fray. "And it's still growing!

M.E.B. - That You Not Dare To Forget

The Prince of Darkness may have slipped away 32 years ago, but he's felt eerily omnipresent in the evolution of this music ever since.

In M.E.B. or "Miles Electric Band," an ensemble of Davis alumni and disciples underscore his unyielding spirit with That You Not Dare to Forget. The lineup is staggering: bassists Ron Carter, Marcus Miller, and Stanley Clarke; saxophonist Donald Harrison, guitarist John Scofield, a host of others.

How does That You Not Dare To Forget satisfy the definition of alternative jazz? Because like Davis' abstracted masterpieces, like Bitches Brew, On the Corner and the like, the music is amoebic, resistant to pigeonholing.

Indeed, tunes like "Hail to the Real Chief" and "Bitches are Back" function as scratchy funk or psychedelic soul as much as they do the J-word, which Davis hated vociferously.

And above all, they're idiosyncratic to the bone — just as the big guy was, every second of his life and career.

Art Ensemble of Chicago - Sixth Decade - from Paris to Paris

The nuances and multiplicities of the Art Ensemble of Chicago cannot be summed up in a blurb: that's where books like Message to Our Folks and A Power Stronger Than Itself — about the AACM — come in.

But if you want an entryway into this bastion of creative improvisational music — that, unlike The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Associated Ensembles boxed set, isn't 18-plus hours long — Sixth Decade - from Paris to Paris will do in a pinch.

Recorded just a month before the pandemic struck, The Sixth Decade is a captivating looking-glass into this collective as it stands, with fearless co-founder Roscoe Mitchell flanked by younger leading lights, like Nicole Mitchell and Moor Mother.

Potent and urgent, engaging the heart as much as the cerebrum, this music sees the Art Ensemble still charting their course into the outer reaches. Here's to their next six decades.

Theo Croker - By The Way

By The Way may not be an album proper, but it's still an exemplar of alternative jazz.

The five-track EP finds outstanding trumpeter, vocalist, producer, and composer Croker revisiting tunes from across his discography, with UK singer/songwriter Ego Ella May weaving the proceedings with her supple, enveloping vocals.

Compositions like "Slowly" and "If I Could I Would" seem to hang just outside the reaches of jazz; it pulls on strings of neo soul and silky, progressive R&B.

Even the music video for "Slowly" is quietly innovative: in AI's breakthrough year, machine learning made beautifully, cosmically odd visuals for that percolating highlight.

Michael Blake - Dance of the Mystic Bliss

Even a cursory examination of Dance of the Mystic Bliss reveals it to be Pandora's box.

First off: revered tenor and soprano saxophonist Michael Blake's CV runs deep, from his lasting impression in New York's downtown scene to his legacy in John Lurie's Lounge Lizards.

And his new album is steeped in the long and storied history of jazz and strings, as well as Brazilian music and the sting of grief — Blake's mother's 2018 passing looms heavy in tunes like "Merle the Pearl." 

"Sure, for me, it's all about my mom, and there will be some things that were triggered. But when you're listening to it, you're going to have a completely different experience," Blake told LondonJazz in 2023.

"That's what I love about instrumental music," he continued. "That's what's so great about how jazz can transcend to this unbelievable spiritual level." Indeed, Dance of the Mystic Bliss can be communed with, with or without context, going in familiar or cold.

And that tends to be the instrumental music that truly lasts — the kind that gives you a cornucopia of references and sensations, either way.

Dinner Party - Enigmatic Society

Dinner Party's self-titled debut EP, from 2020 — and its attendant remix that year, Dinner Party: Dessert — introduced a mightily enticing supergroup to the world: Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, and 9th Wonder.

While the magnitude of talent there is unquestionable, the quartet were still finding their footing; when mixing potent Black American genres in a stew, sometimes the strong flavors can cancel each other out.

Enigmatic Society, their debut album, is a relaxed and concise triumph; each man has figured out how he can act as a quadrant for the whole.

And just as guests like Herbie Hancock and Snoop Dogg elevated Dinner Party: Dessert, colleagues like Phoelix and Ant Clemons ride this wave without disturbing its flow.

Wadada Leo Smith & Orange Wave Electric - Fire Illuminations

The octogenarian tumpeter, multi-instrumentalist and composer Wadada Leo Smith is a standard-bearer of the subset of jazz we call "creative music." And by the weighty, teeming sound of Fire Illuminations, it's clear he's not through surprising us.

Therein, Smith debuts his nine-piece Orange Wave Electric ensemble, which features three guitarists (Nels Cline, Brandon Ross, Lamar Smith) and two electric bassists (Bill Laswell and Melvin Gibbs).

In characteristically sagelike fashion, Smith described Fire Illuminations as "a ceremonial space where one's hearts and conscious can embrace for a brief period of unconditioned love where the artist and their music with the active observer becomes united."

And if you zoom in from that beatific view, you get a majestic slab of psychedelic hard rock — with dancing rhythms, guitar fireworks and Smith zigzagging across the canvas like Miles. 

Henry Threadgill - The Other One

Saxophonist, flutist and composer Henry Threadgill composed The Other One for the late, great Milfred Graves, the percussionist with a 360 degree vantage of the pulse of his instrument and how it related to heart, breath and hands.

If that sounds like a mouthful, this is a cerebral, sprawling and multifarious space: The Other One itself consists of one three-movement piece (titled Of Valence) and is part of a larger multimedia work.

To risk oversimplification, though, The Other One is a terrific example of where "jazz" and "classical" melt as helpful descriptors, and flow into each other like molten gold.

If you're skeptical of the limits and constraints of these hegemonic worlds, let Threadgill and his creative-music cohorts throughout history bulldoze them before your ears.

Linda May Han Oh - The Glass Hours

Jazz has an ocean of history with spoken word, but this fusion must be executed judiciously: again, these bold flavors can overwhelm each other. Except when they're in the hands of an artist as keen as Linda May Han Oh.

"I didn't want it to be an album with a lot of spoken word," the Malaysian Australian bassist and composer told LondonJazz, explaining that "Antiquity" is the only track on The Glass Hours to feature a recitation from the great vocalist Sara Serpa. "I just felt it was necessary for that particular piece, to explain a bit of the narrative more."

Elsewhere, Serpa's crystalline, wordless vocals are but one color swirling with the rest: tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, pianist Fabian Almazan, and drummer and electronicist Obed Calvaire.

Themed after "the fragility of time and life; exploring paradoxes seeded within our individual and societal values," The Glass Hours is Oh's most satisfying and well-rounded offering to date, ensconced in an iridescent atmosphere.

Charles Lloyd - Trios: Sacred Thread

You can't get too deep into jazz without bumping into the art of the trio — and the primacy of it. 

At 85, saxophonist and composer Charles Lloyd is currently smoking every younger iteration of himself on the horn; his exploratory fires are undimmed. So, for his latest project, he opted not just to just release a trio album, but a trio of trios.

Trios: Chapel features guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan; Trios: Ocean is augmented by guitarist Anthony Wilson and pianist Gerald Clayton; the final, Trios: Sacred Thread, contains guitarists Julian Lage and percussionist Zakir Hussain.

These are wildly different contexts for Lloyd, but they all meet at a meditative nexus. Drink it in as the curtains close on 2023, as you consider where all these virtuosic, forward-thinking musicians will venture to next — "alternative" or not.

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer & Shahzad Ismaily On New Album 'Love In Exile,' Improvisation Versus Co-Construction And The Primacy Of The Pulse

GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Here's What Harry Styles, Brandi Carlile & More Had To Say Backstage At The 2023 GRAMMYs
Harry Styles backstage at the 2023 GRAMMYs

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


Here's What Harry Styles, Brandi Carlile & More Had To Say Backstage At The 2023 GRAMMYs

Backstage at the 2023 GRAMMYs, established and emerging stars alike — from Harry Styles to Samara Joy — opened up about what Music’s Biggest Night meant to them.

GRAMMYs/Feb 8, 2023 - 10:31 pm

Like every edition of Music’s Biggest Night, the 2023 GRAMMYs featured a wealth of funny, touching and inspiring onstage speeches — both at the Premiere Ceremony and the main telecast.

But artists tend to express themselves differently, more intimately, backstage — and this certainly applied to GRAMMY winners and nominees at this year’s ceremony.

In the litany of videos below, see and hear stirring, extemporaneous statements from artists all over the 2023 GRAMMYs winners and nominees list, from Album Of The Year winner Harry Styles to Americana star-turned-rocker Brandi Carlile to Best Global Music Performance nominee Anoushka Shankar and beyond.

Throughout, you’ll get a better sense of the good jitters backstage at Arena in Los Angeles on Feb. 5, and hear exactly what the golden gramophone means to this crop of musical visionaries.

The list of videos begins below.

Harry Styles

Samara Joy

Brandi Carlile

Steve Lacy

Muni Long

Bonnie Raitt

Kim Petras

Ashley McBryde

Carly Pearce

Anoushka Shankar

Masa Takumi

Kabaka Pyramid

Robert Glasper

Assassin's Creed


White Sun