On my descent through the ‘Internet rabbit hole’ the other day, I ran across NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro’s interview with Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts on his newly released EP Race for the White House. The songs on the EP are musical interpretations of four presidential candidates: Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson and Donald Trump. What makes this particularly noteworthy, aside from the ingenious creativity of translating the bid to be the POTUS into jazz , is the fact that Roberts wrote these compositions while listening to the candidates on the campaign trail. In Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker piece Roberts says he “wrote the songs fast, attempting to capture the candidates based on what was happening in debates and on the campaign trail at the time.”
I think he has captured them fully. For Jazz fans Race to the White House is a treat. Roberts is a skilled and enthralling pianist and composer . If you’re truly into mainstream jazz (or whatever YOU call it) you probably know about him. If you don’t know Roberts, don’t like jazz, are a politics junkie, or just fascinated by this train wreck of a campaign, take a listen. I could see them through Roberts songs. I like his view better than mine.