R.I.P. Roy Hargrove

Jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove has passed at age 49 after suffering from cardiac arrest. Hargrove was considered the most relevant trumpeter of his generation for his mastering of jazz tradition with contemporary sounds. He was associated with the Soulquarians collective that included but was not limited to Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Common, Questlove and J.Dilla. His trumpet was also heard on records Angelique Kidjo, Sonny Rollins and John Mayer. As a leader, his RH Factor band was a fusion of R&B, jazz, funk, hip-hop and poetry. The three albums he recorded as the RH Factor were some of the most cohesive examples of the cultural flow among the genres. He won two Grammies in 1997 in the Latin Jazz category for his Habana album and again in 2002 for Best Jazz Instrumental Album because of the Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker co-led Directions In Music: Live At Massey Hall. Wynton Marsalis discovered Hargrove when he was a student at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas. He relocated to New York City in the ’90s and his career began when his first solo album, Diamond In The Rough was released in 1990. Hargrove was already a fixture at Bradley’s a jazz club in Greenwich Village and had developed a reputation for spectacular playing but the release of his first album made him the most talked about young jazz musician in the city. Throughout the ’90s his legend grew and he was prolific in his recording habits with others and with his band. Hargrove’s last album Emergence from 2009 but he continued to tour and record with others. 

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The Great Roy Hargrove. He is literally the one man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music. To watch him harmonize with himself stacking nine horn lines on mamouth 10 mins songs RARELY rewinding to figure out what he did. Or not even contemplating what the harmony was (this is up there with Jay Z never writes his rhymes territory) —-like you can hear an incomplete Dangelo song once—-like an 11 min song—-and then in 20 secs you know the EXACT SPOT ON line to bob in and weave out?!!!! I know I’ve spoken in every aspect of Soulquarian era recording techniques but even I can’t properly document how crucial and spot on Roy was with his craft man. We NEVER gave him instructions: just played the song and watched him go —-like “come back in 45 mins I’ll have something” matter of fact now that I think of it —-I was so amped to put handclaps on @Common’s #ColdBlooded @JamesPoyser and i didn’t even take proper time out to approve what he worked on, it was like I already knew. So when you hear us SCREAMING/laughing at the 1:51 mark (me/com/d/rahzel/james) that’s us MIND BLOWN at another #Game6 esque performance from Roy. And all that stuff towards the end? We just reacting in real time to greatness. Such a key component. And a beautiful cat man. Love to the immortal timeless genius that will forever be Roy Hargrove y’all. #RoyHargroveRip

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