by Eric Tullis
Back in March, we interviewed the hip-hop-influenced jazz pianist Robert Glasper. His group, Robert Glasper Experiment, was headed to Durham for a two-night residency at the Casbah in support of their new album, Black Radio.
During our chat, Glasper spoke of his fondness for local Grammy-winning producer, 9th Wonder: "Doesn't he live out there? I'm trying to reach him. I want him to do a remix. Put it in the paper," said Glasper.
We followed Glasper's instructions, and maybe that's what led to 9th Wonder contributing to Glasper's upcoming Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP. The short offering features six unreleased and remixed tracks off of Black Radio, from producers like Pete Rock and ?uestlove and guest verses from rappers like Phonte and Black Milk.
Here, on "Afro Blue ft. Erykah Badu (9th Wonder's Blue Light Basement Remix ft. Phonte)," 9th Wonder mellows the original and dots the intervals between Badu's lacy vocals with flutes chirping from a field of midnight drums. Phonte closes his guest verse with well-played erotic imagery, complementing Badu's homage to intertwined "cocoa-hued" bodies: "Love comes in every color, but the fact is/ I never needed Fifty Shades of Grey/ Just turn the lights down low and give me every shade of blackness."
With several remix albums to his name, 9th Wonder is no stranger to fixing up tracks with his signature soul-percussion, even if the original wasn't broken to begin with. This time, having a distinguished jazz musician like Robert Glasper request his remix services makes it even better.
Robert Glasper's Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP is out Oct. 9 on Blue Note Records.