R+R=Now Debut New Live Album – Stream It Now
R+R=Now Live Out Now Via Blue Note Records
Feb 12, 2021
Photography by Todd Cooper
Dream-team collective R+R=Now has returned with a new live album, R+R=Now Live, out now via Blue Note Records. recorded during jazz superstar producer and musician Robert Glasper’s month-long residency at The Blue Note Jazz Club in October 2018.
Formed on short notice for Robert Glasper’s 2017 SXSW performance, R+R=Now quickly became a who’s who of modern jazz standouts. “ Glasper is on keys, Terrace Martin on synthesizer, vocoder, and alto saxophone, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on trumpet, Derrick Hodge on bass, Taylor McFerrin on synthesizer, and Justin Tyson on drums. R+R stands for ‘Reflect’ and ‘Respond’,” says Glasper, inspired by a quote from Nina Simone – “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” Glasper says, “When you reflect what’s going on in your time and respond to that, you can’t not be relevant. So ‘R’ plus ‘R’ equals ‘NOW’.”
Adjuah expands on that saying, “Everyone in this band is a six-foot-tall black guy who didn’t come from an affluent background. In order for us all to make it into that room together, we’ve had to go through some hell, fight for some things, build up a lot of armor, and do a lot ourselves to forge our realities, to become who we are. We’re all very aware of that, so anytime we get together, it’s a celebration.”
Bringing together diverse artistic strains from jazz, soul, R&B, and instrumental hip hop, the collective takes on songs from their 2018 debut Collagically Speaking, as well as a cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “How Much a Dollar Cost,” the standout To Pimp A Butterfly Track co-written by Martin. Jazz is most famous for its limitless improvisatory live potential and R+R=Now Live is no exception. Put simply, aside from being there in person, this is the best way to hear these songs. The group shifts each track into new forms and directions live and unprompted, with “Resting Warrior” transforming into a nearly half-hour epic closer. The group’s music takes on new expansive life, with an all-star cast of players armed with endless chemistry.
Listen to the record below along with R+R=Now’s 2018 debut, Collagically Speaking.
Check out our review of Dinner Party, the 2020 self-titled debut from supergroup Dinner Party, featuring Glasper and Martin, along with Kamasi Washington and 9th Wonder.