Pianist Robert Glasper brings his brand of acoustic jazz roots to Lawrence Memorial Chapel

Versatile pianist and composer Robert Glasper and his band, the Robert Glasper Trio, showcases his forthcoming album “Covered” Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m. in the final concert of the 2014-15 Lawrence University Jazz Series.

Robert Glasper previews his forthcoming album “Covered” May 1 in the final 2014-15 Jazz Series concert.

Tickets for the Lawrence Memorial Chapel concert, at $25-30 for adults, $20-25 for seniors and $18-20 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

In “Covered,” Glasper returns to his acoustic jazz roots while continuing to explore the hip-hop and R&B sound that earned him two Grammy Awards for his albums “Black Radio” and “Black Radio 2.

The album, which is scheduled for official release June 16, was recorded live in front of an intimate gathering of invited guests in Capitol Records’ historic Studio A. The first single from the album, “Reckoner,” a cover of the Radiohead song, was made available to all streaming services and digital retailers on April 22.

“Robert Glasper is unmistakable for his gospel-infused sound,” said Lawrence associate professor of music Mark Urness, bassist with the Lawrence Faculty Jazz Quartet. “He has amazingly collaborated with the top artists in jazz and R&B and is one of the busiest pianists and composers today.

“His two Grammy Awards are testament to the universal appeal of his lyrical, soulful style,” Urness added. “Whether it is complex original jazz compositions, or covers of Radiohead, the Glasper Trio always delivers lyrical melodies, compelling harmonies and a joyous groove.”

The New York Times locates Glasper’s signature eclectic, referential style at the “junction of coolheaded logic and digressive caprice.” The new album features songs by hip-hop and R&B stars like Kendrick Lamar, Musiq Soulchild, John Legend and Bilal alongside jazz standards like “Stella by Starlight” and works by Radiohead and Joni Mitchell.

Joining Glasper onstage will be bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid, with whom Glasper recorded his first two Blue Notes releases, “Canvas” (2005) and “In My Element” (2007). He cites Archer and Reid as two of his favorite musicians and the perfect collaborators for an album blending old and new sounds. NPR lauded the trio as “a shape-shifting, communicative unit” able to showcase Glasper’s “supple, flowing lines…sostenuto melodies…moody harmonies.”

In addition to working on “Covered,” Glasper composed and recorded the score for “Miles Ahead,” Don Cheadle’s upcoming film about Miles Davis. He also has been combing through Davis’ Columbia Records vaults and will create a remix album based on the legendary trumpeter’s recordings, rehearsals and outtakes.

He was recently named a Steinway Artist, joining the roster of world-class musicians who perform exclusively on Steinway pianos.

Glasper’s concert is a rescheduled appearance from an originally schedule performance for January 30 that had to be cancelled due to a film project conflict.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.