In a recent lesson, I had one of my students listen to some Robert Glasper. Who is Robert Glasper?
Glasper is a young pianist from Houston, Texas. He went to New York to study at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and he has had a meteoric rise to success in the jazz world. He was signed to Blue Note in 2005, after having worked as a sideman with people like trumpeter Nicholas Payton and rapper Q-Tip. Glasper is a piano virtuoso: he has a ferocious right hand, which can blaze solo lines of impressive complexity, but also deliver soulful melodic statements. Glasper represents a different point of departure in his influences: I hear more Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau, and also some modern Gospel influence. His rhythmic phrasing comes more from hip-hop than be-bop. (Although, I don't think hip-hop would have existed without be-bop, but that's another discussion.)
Back to my lesson: my student and I had been talking about rhythm. I usually urge students to listen to Wynton Kelly to learn how to swing. But jazz rhythm has changed a lot since the 1950's and 1960's. It has incorporated all of the trends in American popular music, including rock, soul, funk, and hip hop. Glasper does some beautiful behind-the-beat hip-hop phrasing on "Yes I'm Country(And That's OK)". I wanted my student to try to emulate Glasper's approach in order to have a wider perspective, and to make his rhythmic approach more organic.