R+R=NOW is the name of new jazz super group featuring pianist Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin on synthesizer and vocoder, trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, bassist Derrick Hodge, Taylor McFerrin on synth and beatbox, and drummer Justin Tyson. On Friday, the group released their debut album, Collagically Speaking.
“R+R stands for ‘Reflect’ and ‘Respond’,” Glasper explains in a press release, adding that the project was inspired by Nina Simone’s quote regarding it being “an artist’s duty… to reflect the times.” He continues, “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’.”
“Everyone in this band is a six-foot-tall black guy who didn’t come from an affluent background,” Scott adds. “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.”
The 11 tracks appearing on Collagically Speaking were written in the studio and recorded in a single take. “I love the first take because it’s the most honest take,” Glasper explains. “There’s something about the spirit of it. I don’t record until I’m ready and I don’t do extra takes just to do it—you burn out. We’d chill, watch some basketball, have some drinks, and hit record when the vibe was right.”