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Robert Glasper Wants Music Fans to ‘Let Go’ With New Apple Music Partnership

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Coinciding with its Black Music Month celebratory focus on jazz this year, Apple Music and award-winning artist/producer Robert Glasper have partnered for the exclusive release of his latest album Let Go. (The Grammy- and Emmy-winning artist’s latest project is available on Apple Music now.)

In a release about the new partnership, Apple Music global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B Ebro Darden said, “At Apple Music, we understand that jazz is not only foundational to Black music, but all popular music. So making sure we lean in and do more with jazz had to be a priority.”

As its title implies, Let Go is intended to help people recalibrate mentally in a world rife with challenges. Among the album’s few vocal moments is the track “Breathing Underwater,” which features a guest turn by artist/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. Moving forward, the exclusive partnership between Apple Music and Glasper will include additional albums, a radio show and a live performance by the musician.

“My whole career, everybody’s been saying my music is meditative,” Glasper said of Let Go in Apple Music’s announcement. “People say they study to my music, pray to my music, do yoga to my music; they just zone out. People have wanted me to do this for a long time. I wouldn’t call it the ‘meditation project’ or nothing like that, but it’s something you can put on that helps you find your center. It’s just something that quiets the world and allows you to see what’s within.”

Among the musicians who worked on the album’s instrumental tracks are drummer Kendrick Scott, bassist Burniss Travis and guitarist Chris Sholar, of whom Glasper noted, “The musicians are very, very important because they have to have that same flow and that same center. [For example], the drummer is a water sign. Everything he plays is water. He feels like water. And that’s what I wanted for this. I wanted it to be liquid.”

In honor of Juneteenth (June 19), Apple Music’s jazz focus will be supplemented by Freedom Songs 2024. The playlist of original songs and covers is performed by next-gen jazz musicians such as Lakecia Benjamin, Theo Croker, Savannah Harris, J. Hoard, Alexis Lombre, Endea Owens, Joel Ross, Cisco Swank, Kamasi Washington and Immanuel Wilkins. Apple is also offering curated collections of music spotlighting the role that jazz has played – and continues to play – in other genres like hip-hop, rock, R&B/soul, dance and electronic music through albums, playlists and radio episodes saluting the heroes of jazz then and now.

Glasper’s last formal release was 2022’s Black Radio III. The set featured a diverse mix of artists from R&B, hip-hop and jazz such as the aforementioned Ndegeocello, Esperanza Spalding, Killer Mike, Q-Tip, H.E.R. and Gregory Porter. The album won the Grammy for best R&B album last year.

Gail Mitchell
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