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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 October 2013
Five POTENT Stars! Beautiful, swinging, smooth, vocal R&B music with a modal jazz underpinning. Robert Glasper is the award-winning pianist, composer, leader, and producer who is not just crossing over from jazz to other forms of contemporary music, he's pulling down walls by blending jazz, hip-hop, R&B, gospel, and beyond, creating a form of music probably more at home on 'quiet storm' radio stations than jazz stations (for the time being). On his groundbreaking, Grammy-winning Black Radio, he raised the stakes of the preceding Double Booked, which had 6 tracks played by his jazz trio and 6 tracks of hip-hop played by his Black Radio Experiment group, to a complete recording of this transformative new music. He continues this trend with a complete recording of R&B-influenced performances on Black Radio 2. In his DownBeat magazine cover story on this new music, he thought about bringing in lesser known artists for the second Black Radio recording. Instead he has brought in some of the 'cream of the crop' of urban contemporary music, who are very much at ease in Glasper's musical world and vice versa: Macy Grey, Common, Jill Scott, Faith Evans, Marsha Ambrosius, Brandy, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, and Norah Jones, among many others.

The entire 16 track recording is uniformly excellent with songs flowing from one song to the next, creating a beautiful mellow laid-back sonic effect. My favorites begin with the uplifting performance of "You're My Everything" featuring Bilal and Jazmine Sullivan and the gospel-flavored piano enhancing a declarative rap by Common on "I Stand Alone". "Big Girl Body' featuring Eric Roberson has a beautiful background musical theme but with some chilling predictive environmental words. Then there is the heartfelt uptempo "Let It Ride" with a multi-tracked Norah Jones; the sole 'cover' of this recording is an updated auto-tuned vocal version of Bill Withers' "Lovely Day"; Macy Gray and Jean Grae join forces on "I Don't Even Care"; Snopp Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, and Luke James are wonderful on the positive rap "Persevere"; there is a towering performance of "Yet To Find" by Anthony Hamilton; "Jesus Children" features Lalah Hathaway and Malcolm Jamal Warner's inspiring words, and finally there is the 'flo-etry' of Marsha Ambrosius on a mesmerizing "Trust". In all, this is another major step by Robert Glasper, his Experiment band, and musical guests in adding to his potent personal take on the urban contemporary music experience on this more R&B-flavored performance and it is a complete, very enjoyable success. Highly Recommended! Five COMPELLING Stars! (16 tracks; 77 minutes: 51secs)
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on 6 January 2014
The evolution of Robert Glasper and his colleagues as the 'Robert Glasper Experiment' continues apace with the release of 'Black Radio 2', accompanied by, and written in conjunction with, a host of guest appearances guaranteed to whet the appetite of every lover of contemporary black soul music, including Jill Scott (thankfully included this time!), Faith Evans, Dwele, Brandy, Lalah Hathaway, Bilal and Jazmine Sullivan. The first volume was explicitly referenced, through an accompanying liner note essay, as an attempt to fuse disparate elements from within the 'black' musical tradition and to locate Jazz as part of this wider musical discourse. The result was a was a critical and commercial success, quickly leading to the release in late 2012 of 'Black Radio Recovered: The Remixes' (Blue Note).

The album opens with 'Baby Tonight' (Black Radio 2 Theme), a short vocoder infused entry reminiscent of the late 1970s fusion style of Herbie Hancock, segueing in to 'Mic Check 2', bringing together short vocal interjections by the artists featured on the album. 'I Stand Alone' (featuring Common and Patrick Stump) is a composition clearly designed to stand as a call to black consciousness, attempting to link the African American experience to a deeper, trans-historical narrative of African creativity and identity. Replete with uplifting piano sketching, Common takes up the call in a typically mono-toned performance, whilst referencing Louis Farrakhan. The difficulties in positing and articulating a black musical exceptionalism is captured by the inclusion of a spoken word dialogue (for which the music fades down), citing the '[...] irresistible appeal of black individuality' whilst bemoaning a general lack of creative originality except for the efforts of artists obsessed with excellence. A song under 5 minutes is not likely to allow sufficient space for the complexities of such a discourse to be explored! Brandy delivers a vocally assured 'What Are We Doing', before Jill Scott takes centre stage for 'Calls'. Scott remains one of the most talented female singers of her generation, and her performance is typical of her style, exhibiting her ability to effortlessly weave between varied emotional shadings. Dwele's 'Worries' continues the low key groove, whilst the UK's very own Marsha Ambrosius (formerly of 'Floetry') features on 'Trust', providing a substantial emotional and musical core to the album.

Other sure footed performances are provided by Anthony Hamilton, Faith Evans and Eric Roberson, whilst Norah Jones features on the 'Drum & Bass' influenced 'Let It Ride', driven by exceptionally frenetic and skilled playing in the reprise. Two covers are provided by way of Stevie Wonder's 'Jesus Children' and Bill Withers' 'Lovely Day'.

So do you buy?

Fans of 'Black Radio' will find 'Black Radio 2' continuing a familiar musical narrative, the album remains rooted in a low to mid tempo groove throughout (except for 'Let It Ride'). The musicianship is, as might be expected, of a very high standard, and this is clearly important to the group's identity - the liner notes stating clearly that '[...] there are no programmed loops on this album. Everything you hear was played live'. Yet even given this excellence in performance, and the stellar guest list, as a listening experience something remains awry, a sense heightened by the self-conscious claims of the work to artistic excellence as a musical work of art. Judged by such terms the results are mixed, hampered by a lack of stylistic variety, and the familiarity of the musical ground covered. Clearly this is a group producing work of serious intent, aware of their wider musical heritage and possibly frustrated by the musical fare that is often accorded the labels 'Black music' or 'Urban', with all the stereotypes and inanity that can be found so easily. Set in this context 'Black Radio 2' is a welcome respite, but it does not offer anything substantially new when compared to the wider traditions it wishes to reference and apparently build and expand upon ('Drum & Bass' meeting 'Jazz' - see Herbie Hancock or Roni Size for better examples).

This is a group still learning and growing, and undoubtedly there is greater (and more original work) to be expected in the future. For the moment, despite the flaws, listeners should simply enjoy the ride.

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on 29 October 2013
There have been so many really good albums this year, especially in the last few months alone (John Legend, Gregory Porter, Raheem Devaughn all worth buying if you haven't already!) and this is definitely one of the them. From start to finish the vibe just flows. All the tracks are soothing to the ears,I haven't received my actual 'hard' copy yet and have been listening to my free MP3,so the stand out tracks for me at the moment are, 'Let it Ride' with Norah Jones and 'Something Else' with Emeli Sande. I have to play these two tracks twice when listening, they are sooo good!
This needs to be added to your collection without hesitation!
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on 31 October 2013
This is a MUST purchase for real soul music lovers, a beautifully tasteful compilation, with hints and tints of everything underground soul with a twist...words elude...I love it
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on 28 December 2013
I bought Black Radio and loved every track and adore Robert Glasper's version of Teen Spirit. Black Radio 2 is an equally impressive album. On the surface, Robert Glasper's compositions are a blend of jazz, RnB, gospel, blues and rock but there is much more going on. I also detect classical and baroque. This album would appeal to jazz and neo-soul fans, particularly as many of the singers are from the neo-soul tradition. For me, black music doesn't get much better than this. Every time I listen to Black Radio and Black Radio 2, I can't help but smile. Glasper is a musical genius.
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on 29 January 2014
I have to say this album definitely lacks a certain quality the first exuded. I mainly bought this album due to hearing the Nora Jones collaboration and instantly wanted to have it. Being someone whom doesn't believe in buying singles or downloads so much I opted for the album. All in all there are maybe 3 I like out of the entire album. A lot of the songs do merge into one and although "Worries", "Somebody Else" and "Let it Ride" are classy songs generally the first album beats this in my opinion.
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on 12 December 2013
Black radio 1 was an amazing album, so I expected at least a half decent project. Unfortunately this didn't meet my expectations. Apart from a few exceptions, this was just a regurgitation of the previous album, just less inspired and original. I found this album to be very RnB and less jazz.
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on 7 March 2014
One or two good tracks but absolutely nowhere near the standard of Black Radio 1. Don't buy it expecting they've maintained standards. It's everything Glasper and crew said they hate about R&B, boring, plodding and bereft of all creativity. Pointless cameo after cameo of "stars" looking to buy into some of his credibilty. Seriously, this album could make you cynical if you don't take heed of reviews like this!
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on 18 April 2014
i honestly thought they couldn't out the first album - Black Radio - robert's approach to chords just gives me the high and derrick well, what can i say about derrick...... buy his album as well!!! casey makes me blush, and mark is a beast!!!! i can listen to them all day, all night, all week. Whatever they touch.......... out of this world. i wish i could give like ten stars because they have re-defined what jazz should mean to our generation, rather than alienating the popular music and artistes of today, they have brought them together in such a way that makes you appreciate the original because you can see it in a much much, dare a i say it, imaginative and creative light. who ever thought Norah Jones could sing over drum and base, i went out to get all her other albums after i heard her voice in a way i had never heard before. well done guys and anyone who really believes in jazz, new and old, you gotta get one not just for you, but for your friends, "frenemies", enemies and obviously, haters.
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on 16 November 2013
Not just a Jazz album. Well done and really enjoyed listen to it. Have had in my car for 2 weeks now and still amazed by his work. Can not wait for his next album.

I have different favorite track any given time but at the moment it is Yet to Find feat Anthony Hamilton. Trust by Marsha was yesterday. LOL

Should definitely buy this album if you want to listen to pure music. If you don not have black radio, which is more jazzy than this, you should also get that.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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