Robert Glasper and his trio played at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 15, the third snowy day in a week. So it was perhaps because of the inclement weather that a good portion of the audience did not turn up. But for those who were in attendance, Glasper had an exciting show in store.

Introducing the band, Glasper noted that he hadn’t played in NYC with his trio that recently. He then turned to discuss the group’s album Covered, which features cover songs. With that he introduced the first song of the evening, “Sign ‘O the Times” by Prince, which hadn’t made the album because of licensing issues. (There are versions of the song streaming online). The lengthy improv incorporated Glasper’s own “Afro Blue” and the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s work from A Charlie Brown Christmas. The group followed it up with another cover, this time the wonky “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box” by Radiohead.

Interspersed into the groove were social activist quotes about truth and justice. The Black Lives Matter elements featured more prominently later during “Find You” which has a message from Glasper’s son Riley that includes the names of several of those deceased by the hands of the police (Eric Garner, Michael Brown, etc).

Not everything was so serious though. Glasper took a few piano solos which reflected tunes like the Christmas song “Hark! The Herald Angel Sings” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”. He also batted some riffs at the members of his group Damion Reid on drums, Vicente Archer on upright bass and Jahi Sundance on the turntables.

Common came out during the encore, and I sadly left before that but you can see a video of his appearance below. Pictures of the show are in the gallery above.

In other news, Glasper and collaborator Terrace Martin (who both also work with Kendrick Lamar) have a new band together called R+R NOW that also includes Christian Scott (trumpet), Derrick Hodge (bass), Justin Tyson (drums), and multi-instrumentalist Taylor McFerrin. No music is out from the group yet, but stay tuned.

photos by Sachyn Mital