Robert Glasper is bringing the Christmas spirit early this year with a gift for Apple Music subscribers: a brand-new album featuring the jazz and R&B star’s spin on holiday classics including “Joy to the World” and “Little Drummer Boy.”
The seven-track album, titled “In December,” is available to stream now. It includes three brand new songs — “Make It Home,” “Memories With Mama” and “December” — and features guest artists including Alex Isley, Andra Day, Cynthia Erivo, PJ Morton and Sevyn Streeter, Carol of the Bells, Tarriona Ball and the Baylor Project.
The vibe of “In December” is comparable to Glasper’s “Black Radio” series, which is neither traditional nor straight-up jazz.
“I like covering songs that people know well, that’s what I’ve done throughout my whole career,” Glasper said in a statement. “It was fun remaking these tunes. The intention for this album was less about Christmas songs and more about songs that feel good during the holidays. I stayed away from thinking too much about Christmas and its traditional lingo and concentrated on real things people go through during the holiday season.”
In that spirit, the original song “Make It Home” focuses on “real-life situations instead of the glossy, happy stories that are painted during Christmas time,” according to Glasper. The pianist contributes a spoken-word performance on “Memories With Mama,” featuring and written by Tank from Tank of the Bangas.
“I lost my mother in 2004 and I always think of her during the holidays,” Glasper said. “I’m glad Tank was able to create this to remind people what it felt like growing up and remind you what your mother would do and say that set the tone for the holidays in your own house.”
Glasper has had a big year, with his annual residency at the Blue Note in New York wrapping up this weekend and two of his soundtracks — for the second seasons of HBO’s “Winning Time” and Starz’s “Run the World” — eligible for Grammy awards.
“In December” is available now, exclusively on Apple Music in immersive Spatial Audio. View the track list, and watch a behind-the-scenes video, below.
- Fireside (Intro)
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman/Carol of Bells (feat. Cynthia Erivo)
- Make It Home (feat. PJ Morton and Sevyn Streeter)
- Memories With Mama (feat. Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball)
- Joy to the World (feat. Alex Isley)
- December (feat. Andra Day)
- Little Drummer Boy (feat. The Baylor Project)