Following the release of his latest album Covered, Bluenote pianist Robert Glasper shares three influences that inspired his choice of tracks on the record
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
I didn’t really get into Miles until I was in high school or college, but once I did I realised that he’s the ‘Dr. Dre of jazz’. He was a master and not only in terms of his music. Away from his instrument he was still Miles Davis. He was like an idea, there was an aura around him… he was not just a guy who played trumpet really well. He changed with the times and was a master at getting the right people around him. He was just an amazing guy. Every 10 years he changed his style and approach. No one has evolved as much in their career as Miles Davis has, especially not in the jazz world.
Kind of Blue is one of the greatest Miles Davis albums – if not the greatest album – of all time. I just love the way they recorded it and the honesty of it. My favourite track on the album is probably Blue in Green. It’s my favourite jazz ballad and probably the shortest too… It’s only eight or ten bars, but the chord changes are just so dope. I love minor, dark sounding songs. Especially the ballads.
Radiohead – In Rainbows
When I first put on In Rainbows I couldn’t take it off. It’s one of those albums that you can play all the way through. That’s rare these days because people don’t make albums anymore, it’s all about track-by-track. It’s not a complete box anymore. So, it was great that Radiohead came out with an album that you can actually put on and not turn off. It’s one of my favourite albums of all time. I just love the way it sounds, how it flows, the writing. Reckoner is such a dope tune. I love that the melody is so simple and meaningful.
Joni Mitchell – For The Roses
For the Roses is a great album. I think a friend of mine hit me with the record when I was at college. Barangrill was what pulled me in, he played me that song first and it’s definitely my favourite tune on the record. I love the song’s poetry and its changes… I love what she’s singing about.
Joni’s very blue with her lyrics. She’s talking about everyday shit and not trying to be particularly deep. She’s just like ‘Hey, I work for the gas station dude. I was pumping the gas and singing Nat King Cole.’ She just tells you what happens. I love that. I also love Joni Mitchell as an artist because she has changed so much over the years. Early Joni Mitchell has got that light, creamy voice but now you listen to her and she’s super dark, super melancholy and rough yet beautiful at the same time. In her music you can see her life and her transitions. I love artists who put that out there for you to see.