Roy Hargrove – “The Joint”

Roy Hargrove, “I’m Not So Sure,” from Earfood (EmArcy Record)

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove, who died November 2 at age 49, was an early participant in the growing conversation between jazz, hip-hop, contemporary R&B and neo-soul. A standout trumpet player in his youth, Hargrove was discovered while still in high school by trumpet kingmaker Wynton Marsalis, who asked the young horn player to join him on tour. Hargrove went on to build a wildly successful career in jazz, recording numerous albums that showed off his muscular technique, full-bodied tone and melodic accessibility. But his biggest claim to fame was as a bridge-builder between jazz and hip-hop, genres that he saw as virtually inseparable.

To that end, his playing has appeared on albums by hip-hop royalty, including rapper Common (Like Water for Chocolate) and vocalist D’Angelo (Voodoo), and his own crossover disc, 2003’s Hard Groove, was met with critical and popular acclaim. The album featured guest appearances from the likes of rapper Q-Tip, vocalist Erykah Badu and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. The slow-jam “The Joint,” a standout from that disc, positively simmers a groove-based intensity, and Hargrove cuts loose on an effects-laden solo that walks the line between hard-bop and G-funk. This musical voice will be sorely missed.

Feature image courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ice Boy Tell

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