Originalmente publicado en The Pop of Yestercentury:
Both Robert Glasper’s Black Radio and Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society feature talented young artists who are primarily associated with jazz. Both albums draw upon hip hop, r&b, neo soul, and other styles that often outstrip jazz in terms of airtime on that device mentioned in both titles. Unsurprisingly, both Radio outings are also making a lot of headlines.
While not the first experiments along these lines (Miles Davis had his fingers in several pots his entire career, Glasper had begun to explore similar territory on Double Booked and Nicholas Payton’s Bitches proudly incorporated radio-friendly sounds, albeit with less media attention), and in all likelihood just the tip of this genre-breaching iceberg, the release of these efforts within weeks of one another and their corresponding media attention have generated familiar discussion regarding the future of jazz, its intersection with more popular styles and the potential dissolution of the former into the latter.