Canvas

If there were a downside to ROBERT GLASPER’s inking a deal with Blue Note Records, it would be that he is the second Houston jazz pianist to be signed to the label, forced to follow the widely acclaimed Jason Moran. Glasper is a few years younger than Moran, and both were schooled in Houston’s hip-hop mecca. Yet they sound nothing alike. While Moran is incendiary, Glasper is melodic and playful. CANVAS impresses, though its modernity is not obvious; at first, the music seems rooted in a post-bop tradition. Glasper’s originality breaks through in unexpected ways: His compositions surprise, he turns a phrase on its head, accelerates when you expect the opposite. Neatly straddling the old and the new, Glasper could be another Oscar Peterson, if only Oscar had a few Mos Def albums in his collection.

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