What happens when you take some of the best musicians in R&B, soul, funk and jazz, and put them in a studio together? You get the genre-bending new single “Change of Tone,” the debut single from the collective R+R=Now.
The collective is composed of Grammy Award-winning producer Robert Glasper, music renaissance man Terrance Martin, jazz composer/instrumentalist Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, composer/record producer Derrick Hodge, DJ/producer Taylor McFerrin and up-and-coming musician Justin Tyson. Each member is instrumental in the supergroup’s sound, with Glasper on piano, Martin on synthesizer and vocoder, Adjuah on trumpet, Hodge on bass, McFerrin on synth and beatbox, and Tyson on drums.
The idea for the group came together in 2017 when Glasper was asked to put together an all-star line-up for an SXSW show. That’s when everything clicked.
“There was no rehearsal and no plan. Just a quick soundcheck,” says Glasper of R+R=NOW’s Austin debut. And yet, “We were vibing, listening to each other, and coming up with stuff on the spot that was so dope, when it was time to figure out what my next album for Blue Note would be, I was like, ‘We should do this.’ I needed to take that same band and method to the studio.”
The single is a hybrid encompassing all of black music—hip-hop, R&B, jazz, soul, funk—with its layered instrumental laying out black excellence. Each member is heard throughout the enticing, mood-setting track. Special guest Goapele adds her smooth, velvety vocals on the debut single, taking the song to another level.
Speaking to the meaning of the group and the project, Glasper states, “R+R stands for ‘Reflect’ and ‘Respond’.” He explains that the words of the late Nina Simone influenced his decision: “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. When you reflect what’s going on in your time and respond to that, you can’t be relevant. So ‘R’ plus ‘R’ equals ‘NOW’.”
Martin adds in a statement, “Everybody understood that the biggest ego in the room was the music.”
The collective’s debut single is a small taste of what they have in store for their forthcoming debut project, Collagically Speaking, due out June 15 via Blue Note Records. Along with Gaopele, the album includes appearances from actors Omari Hardwick (Power), Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Amanda Seales (Insecure), rappers Stalley and Yasiin Bey, and singer Amber Navran (of Moonchild).
The group will play a series of album release shows in Atlanta (Variety Playhouse, June 15), Washington, D.C. (DC Jazz Fest, June 16) and Brooklyn, N.Y. (Celebrate Brooklyn, June 22) before heading out for a series of U.S. and international dates. It all kicks off on May 13 in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival.
Listen to their timely single and watch a Paste Studio performance from Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah while peeking at the supergroup’s tour dates below.
R+R=NOW Tour Dates:
13 – St. Lucia Jazz Festival @ Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
15 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Variety Playhouse
16 – Washington, D.C. @ DC Jazz Fest
22 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Celebrate Brooklyn
28 – Lviv, Ukraine @ Leopolis Jazz Festival
30 – Timisoara, Romania @ JazzTM
01 – Paris, France @ La Defense
04 – Vienne, France @ Vienne Jazz Festival
05 – Warsaw, Poland @ Warsaw Summer Jazz Days
06 – Istanbul, Turkey @ Istanbul Jazz Festival
07 – Locorotondo, Italy @ Locus Festival
08 – Montreux, Switzerland @ Montreux Jazz Festival
11 – Dublin, Ireland @ Vicar Street
13 – Rotterdam, Netherlands @ North Sea Jazz Festival
14 – Dour, Belgium @ Dour Festival
15 – London, U.K. @ Citadel Festival
16 – London, U.K. @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire
17 – Nice, France @ Nice Jazz Festival
18 – Molde, Norway @ Mode Jazz Festival
20 – Pori, Finland @ Pori Jazz Festival
22 – Batumi, Georgia @ Black Sea Jazz Festival
24 – Barcelona, Spain @ Jazz Festival at Barts
26 – San Sebastian, Spain @ Heineken Jazzaldia
03 – Newport, R.I. @ Newport Jazz Festival
28-29 – Tokyo, Japan @ Billboard Live
30 – Osaka, Japan @ Billboard Live
01 – Tokyo, Japan @ Tokyo Jazz Festival
26-Feb. 2 – Blue Note at Sea