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You probably know Leslie Odom, Jr. best as the original voice of Vice-President Aaron Burr in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s magnificent mixtape of American history and musical traditions: “Hamiton: An American Musical”. But Odom, Jr. is also a fine jazz singer, bringing his dramatic sense to standards from the jazz and Broadway worlds.
In R+R=NOW (Reflect + Respond =Now) the pianist Robert Glasper, perhaps the first pioneer in the electronic, jazz fusion movement out of L.A. that produced Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, brings together trumpeter Christian Scott, saxophonist and keyboardist Terrace Martin (of To Pimp a Butterfly and Herbie Hancock fame) and members of his Experiment. The result is a sound that is familiar to Glasper’s live J.Dilla vibe, but the details Martin and Scott color in are probing and powerful.
If you hear James Brown on record hollering for someone to “blow your horn!” the next thing you’re going to experience is Maceo Parker. Brown’s right-hand sax man had an irreducible funkiness to his playing—swagger and pep were his rare earth metals. And Parker shines as a leader too: If you don’t have 1970’s Doing Their Own Thing, by Maceo and All the King’s Men, get it now. (His solo records in the years since have ranged from funk to jazz to blues.)