Roy Hargrove
* October 16, 1969
United States
Music group
Trumpeter/composer Roy Hargrove may be only 33 years old, but in just 14 years as a professional, he's established a reputation as one of the most versatile and hardest working players in jazz. Check his resume: nine albums as a leader and two more as a co-leader. He's led quartets, quintets, nonets and a big band. In 1996, he went to Cuba, recruited some of the island's finest players (including piano legend Chucho Valdes) and recorded the Afro-Cuban jazz landmark and Grammy® winning Habana.

Over the last three years, the trumpeter has ventured into the black pop mainstream as a collaborator; first with neo-soul godhead D'Angelo (2000's Grammy®-winning Voodoo album and tour) then via guest shots on albums by Erykah Badu, Common and the Red Hot AIDS awareness organization (Red Hot + Riot). On May 20th, Roy Hargrove makes his own musical mark on this world with the 14-track Verve release The RH Factor: Hard Groove.

Conceived, composed and produced by Hargrove, Hard Groove assembled some of the most respected young R&B dons and divas (D'Angelo, Anthony Hamilton, Erykah Badu and Stephanie McKay), jazz/neo-soul/jam band players (Marc Cary, Steve Coleman, Gene Lake; James Poyser, Pino Palladino, Bernard Wright; Karl Denson, and hip hop MCs (Q-Tip, Common) recording today. "I just wanted to open a door that would allow the musicians involved in jazz and the musicians involved in the R&B/hip hop mainstream to form some music that would have no limit", explains Hargrove. "It's like a merging of those two worlds."

On "Common Free Style" ("Since I was a shortie/Used to drink forties/Now I'm drinking some kind of water/And supporting my daughter, y'all") Hargrove supports the rapper's freewheeling wordplay with double-tracked horn baps, squiggly wah-wah trumpet and spacey flugelhorn.

On George Clinton's tune, "I'll Stay" the rhythm section lays down a slow vamp throughout while Chalmers "Spanky" Alford sprinkles in gossamer guitar obligatos, with Roy's plaintive horn solo and D'Angelo's soulful musings.

On "Poetry" Roy and Karl improv on the head of Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" and spin it into a brand new hip hop love song via Q-Tip's sweet name-checking floetry, Meshell Ndegeocello's eddying bassline, Gene Lake's snap/slap drum beats and Erykah Badu's rhythm divine vocal.

From the hot 'n sour piquancy of the title song to the slinkily lubricious "Forget Regret" to the quiet storm of "Liquid Street" to "Out Of Town's" M-Base-meets-Weather Report and the misty-eyed album-closing lullaby "The Stroke". The music on Hard Groove exceeds even the trumpeter's optimistic expectations by a quantum leap.

Roy Hargrove was born in Waco, TX on October 16, 1969. Inspired by the gospel music he heard in church on Sundays and the R&B and funk music that played on the radio, Roy began learning the trumpet in the fourth grade. Somewhat of a prodigy, he was playing at an advanced level of proficiency by the time he reached junior high school. During that time, jazz saxophone legend David "Fathead" Newman performed at his school. After that, all Roy wanted to do was improvise like him.

By age 16, he was studying music at Dallas's prestigious Booker T. Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts (fellow alumni: Erykah Badu and Norah Jones). Midway through his freshman year, Roy was "discovered" by Wynton Marsalis, who was conducting a jazz clinic at the school. Greatly impressed by youngblood's skills, Marsalis facilitated an audition with Ft. Worth's Caravan of Dreams Performing Arts Center where he ended up supporting Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, and Herbie Hancock. During his senior year, Roy was hired by Frank Morgan for a European tour.

In '88, the trumpet phenom moved east to study music at Boston's Berklee. He lasted but a year -- spending more of his time bumrushing NY jam sessions and gigging with Bobby Watson, Ricky Ford, Carl Allen and Superblue than hitting the books. In 1990 he released his major label solo debut, RCA/Novus's Diamond In The Rough. Four albums/years later, RH dropped his Verve debut, the critically acclaimed With the Tenors of Our Time (featuring Joe Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Johnny Griffin, Redman and Branford Marsalis). Stylistically, every album Hargrove has released on Verve has been different from the one preceding it. Family, Habana, Moment to Moment - have all been Grammy® nominated artistic/critical/commercial triumphs. At this year's Grammys®, Roy, Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker won the award for Best Instrumental Jazz Album for Directions In Music.

The RH Factor: Hard Groove represents a turning point in Roy Hargrove's definitions of the music: "Personally this represents the passion that I have for the music to want to take it forward. That feeling alone made me realize that this was a spiritual event and that it was something that was history -- something to be remembered That's what the record is -- opening a new door. And this is only the beginning. There will be more episodes to come."
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