@@@ Robert Glasper: Better Than I Imagined (Concord, 2022) A couple listens off Variety’s best of 2022 thus far. This is an ongoing work presenting a mashup of various black musics — jazz, hip hop, r&b, whatevs. I haven’t been a huge fan as it has sort of a pretentious feel to it and leaves out such beauteous ugliness as trap music and dancefloor genres. This is a lush, medium funky ballad with a sultry vocalist. I’m going to peep another track as this is a bit of a sleeper. I’m checking out the second track Black Superhero as it has Killer Mike on it and my distaste here continues as this is most definitely black music for black folks in brownstone Brooklyn — smooth, funky but not dirty and grizzy. Kinda classist and seems aimed at the historically black college graduates.
@@@ Amber Mark: Three Dimensions Deep (EMI, 2022) I’m going to start on the second track here, What it Is. It’s remarkably similar to the track above, lush and polished with a medium funk feel to it. I like these two tracks (this one and the one above) but I find them lacking in heat and heart. Amber has a very nice voice but I want someone to come on in and wreck up the joint. I’ve sampled parts of four different tracks and I give it a solid B. Nice sounds, maybe a bit polite, with really good singing.