Category Archives: Jazz

Roy Hargrove’s Music & Life Celebrated

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove passed last November at 49 of cardiac arrest leaving behind a remarkable musical legacy that started with jazz standards and eventually went into the realm of neo-soul.  On Tuesday night, in New York,  peers, friends, fans and over 200 musicians paid tribute to him with five hours of his music. Wynton Marsalis, who met Hargrove when he was 16, led the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra during their walked through performance of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” which is usually played at New Orleans’ jazz funerals. Christian McBride, who was a friend and colleague to Hargrove hosted the night. The Roy Hargrove Big Band and his RH Factor band were among the performers. Norah Jones, Common, Karriem Riggins, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jon Batiste and Stephanie McKay graced the stage for the tribute. Hargrove’s spirit and impact on music was felt in the building alongside feelings of grief for his passing and celebration for his life’s work. 


Esperanza Spalding & John Legend Perform Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas On The Voice

John Legend and Esperanza Spalding perform “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” for The Voice Live Finale, Part 2. Their jazzy arrangement gets uplifted by a solo from trombone player Jeffery Miller. 


Masego Adds His Take On Xmas Music With Favorite Tings

Masego acknowledges Xmas with a cover of the show tune “My Favorite Things” retooled as “Favorite Tings.” In the video, he takes to the stage at a club and shares confident vocals before performing a solo on the alto saxophone. The single is available via Amazon and it follows his Lady Lady debut album that arrived in September. 


Amerigo Gazaway Remixes Miles Davis’ Rubberband Of Life Feat. Ledisi

Amerigo Gazaway has remixed Miles Davis’ “Rubberband Of Life” with a feature from Ledisi. Davis recorded “Rubberband Of Life” in 1985 and 1986 for Columbia Records and there were plans for Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan to be included but the project was shelved and Davis went on to record Tutu. Davis’ nephew Vince Wilburn worked with original producers Randy Hall and Zane Giles in 2017 to bring the title track into the 21st century. Ledisi was invited to record on the song at Village Studios in Los Angeles and the sessions were released as a 45 rpm 12″ vinyl EP on Record Store Day 2018. The 5-song EP is now available digitally with Gazaway’s new remix. The producer took his love of Davis’ music further with the Miles & More mix that includes samples, songs and remixes inspired by the late trumpeter. 



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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