Song of the Day: “Jesus Children” by The Robert Glasper Experiment

In the wake of the Grammys, the same names keep appearing as winning artists: Sam Smith, Pharrell Williams and Ariana Grande. However, some of the less popular categories contain winners with just as much musical skill and gravitas as the big-name acts. One of these lesser-known artists, Robert Glasper, won this year’s Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance with his take on Stevie Wonder’s “Jesus Children.” The song features Lalah Hathaway on vocals and Malcolm Jamal Warner performing a poem. True to Glasper’s style, it is filled with a rare blend of deep electric keyboard and bright acoustic piano. The keyboard chords seem to fill the whole song, fighting with Hathaway’s smooth voice for your attention. The drum pattern laid down by Mark Colenburg keeps the song in forward motion, but his quick snare work has the same effect as the piano licks that Glasper plays in the background in that they both offer a musical reprieve from the overall heaviness of this track. The song builds to a climax when Jamal Warner performs his poem, a vivid flurry of words raining down as Hathaway creates beautiful harmonies in the background. Taking on a Stevie Wonder song could have easily turned into another boring reinterpretation of 70’s R&B, but Glasper and Hathaway managed to create something fresh and meaningful.