Robert Glasper was recently interviewed for the article, “All American Music Is Black Music,” at The FADER. An excerpt:
Now you’re teaching a class about Miles Davis.
Yeah, I’m teaching at NYU at the Clive Davis school. I’m teaching it with this journalist and scholar Ashley Kahn, so it’s me and him. It’s really cool — we’re going through the life of Miles Davis and the different styles and different genres that he broke through.
He’s obviously someone whose work has been on your mind, as you worked on the [Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead]. How did being in that zone and focusing on someone else’s music make you think about your own work?
I got a chance to really see how Miles worked with other people, even behind the scenes. When I did the movie, I learned more about Miles than I knew before. Being with his son, his nephew, hanging out with Herbie [Hancock] and Wayne Shorter and all these people that knew Miles very well. But then they asked me to do this [tribute] record called Everything’s Beautiful after that. They allowed me to go into the vaults and take multitracks from his actual recording sessions, so I had the chance to hear things from the recording sessions that most people haven’t heard: him talking to the musicians, how he gets certain points across, how he gets them to do certain things musically that he wants. You never get a chance to know that Miles had a sense of humor, you know? He’s funny! When I heard him saying certain things and doing certain things, I realized, Oh, so I’m on the right track then. I’m on the right path with what I’m doing.
Interview by Rawiya Kameir. Photo by Sam Balaban