Robert Glasper Trio Credit: John Rogers

Each generation of jazz players includes at least a few epoch-defining pianists, and right now, we’re living in the age of Robert Glasper. His long-standing trio with bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid has served, to some extent, as the bandleader’s connection to tradition, as his other projects are filigreed with noteworthy collaborators from sundry genres—soul and R&B singer Bilal and rapper Yasiin Bey (also known as Mos Def), among them. Even prior to his recorded debut in 2004, Glasper poignantly dipped into soul and R&B with a stately and thoughtful touch as a sideman. With his acoustic trio, Glasper’s affinity for music beyond jazz’s traditional boundaries still froths up at regular intervals. On the Houston-born pianist’s 2007 Blue Note album In My Element, his troupe moves from covers of Herbie Hancock and Radiohead into a tribute to late hip-hop producer J Dilla. Glasper’s all-encompassing view of musical innovation has motivated him to set up a handful of working bands to satisfy his seemingly endless explorations of various American idioms. In addition to the Chicago-bound trio, the pianist helms the Robert Glasper Experiment and performs in August Greene alongside Common, as well as playing in R+R=NOW, something of a contemporary supergroup that includes trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah.   v