Roy Hargrove may not have been a mainstream name but in the world of jazz and music period, the virtuosic trumpeter was rightfully regarded as a major talent. Hargrove passed away last weekend, reportedly from cardiac arrest.
Born on October 16, 1969, he raised primarily in the Dallas, Texas area. As a student at Booker T. Washington School of Performing and Visual Arts, he was discovered by Wynton Marsalis, who visited the school in 1987.
The young player left an impression and the pair formed a bond which led to side gigs for Hargrove with the likes of Bobby Watson and other major players. He also obtained a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, leaving after 18 months to attend the New School in New York in a move that transformed his career.
At 20, Hargrove released the first of his five albums for the Novus label, Diamond In The Rough, in 1990. He also kept steady work as a sideman beginning in 1988 while continuing to perform studio work for a bevy of jazz notables, including Sonny Rollins. Hargrove was named one of the “Young Lions of Jazz,” a loose collective of young jazz players who played the “Neo-Bop” jazz style.
Hargrove won two Grammy Awards in his career. The first came in 1998 with his Afro-Cuban band Crisol and their album Habana, which won for Best Latin Jazz Album. In 2003, alongside Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker, Hargrove won the Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz Album.
Another hallmark of his career was that he served as a vital bridge between the intersecting worlds of jazz, hip-hop and R&B. Hargrove played alongside Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Common and several others. His RH Factor band melded diverse musical genres as well.
Reports say that Hargrove suffered with substance abuse. In 2014, he pled guilty to cocaine possession and was sentenced to two days of community service.
Hargrove is survived by his wife, singer Aida Brandes, daughter Kamala Hargrove, his mother Jacklyn Hargove, and a brother, Brian Hargrove.
Roy Hargrove was 49.
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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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