Yesterday I mentioned that I would dedicate this blog to Roy Hargrove. As you might know, Roy is, together with the Argentinean guitar player Oscar Aleman, one of my passions. Due to the fact that he visits the Porgy en Bess Jazz Club in Terneuzen (The Netherlands) almost every year we attended his concerts regular.
The first time we heard Roy at a concert in Porgy en Bess Jazzclub was in ( 9 Nov. 1997 ) with his Crisol band, the concert I mentioned in my last blog.
After that he returned almost every year with his quintet and the last two years with his RH Factor.
Other concerts with Roy were at the North Sea Jazz Festival.
Each concert with Roy is a special event - his trumpet playing reminds of the great hard bop musicans like Clifford Jordan, Clifford Brown, Kenny Dorham and Freddie Hubbard, but I am not prepared to say that he is a clones of them. As a rising star in the 1990s, member of the so-called Young Lions, he established his own style derived from the hard bop tradition, but he kepts his mind open for other developments along the way. In the early 2000s, while under contract of Verve records, he learned that sales figures of his records didn't rise anymore and he had to find new ways to count at the top. He formed his RH Factor, a mix of jazz, soul and funk, with guest stars like D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, Q-tip and M'Shell Ndesgéocello, names famous I'm not familiar with, but who are stars in the neo-soul scene of the 2000s.
We attended two concerts with the RH Factor and, although it is not to compare with his earlier hard bop quintets, we enjoyed the performances, with its catching rhythms and soulfull riffs. And, although Roy experiments with new musical sources, his trumpet playing style is still, like Miles in his electric period, knowable by his original playing.
Last week I learned that a new album of the RH Factor had been released, titled Distractions. It's the third one of this group although the second one, Stength, was labeled as an EP, midpriced, another way to tell that it only had a 45 minutes playing time. This new CD, priced at normal standards, however, only has 38 minutes. What a shame for such a band that hasn't any problem playing for two-and-a-half hours at stage without any intermissions. The record itself contains several titles performed at their last concert in Terneuzen, and although David Fathead Newman has been added and showss great mastership for me it didn't become a remarkable album. Renee Neufville sings on nearly all tunes and it seems even as if Roy only plays a modest part.
In the meantime Roy released another CD, titled Nothing Serious and, as the sticker on the cover reads The Acclaimed Trumpeter's First New Jazz Quintet Recording In Ten Years ! What a surprise. This New Jazz Quintet isn't as new as the title suggests. It contains Roy on trumpet and flugelhorn of course, Justin Robinson on alto saxophone and flute, Ronnie Matthews on piano, Dwayne Burno and Willie Jones III in the rhythm section - all musicans who performed with Roy before.
It is Roy as we hoped to hear him again - in a small setting - playing in the hard bop tradition. Maybe he felt that he lost part of his admirers with his RH Factory experiences. The music on this album, 45 minutes long / short, is great - it's Roy as he played in the 1990s although his music seems more arranged, settled and relaxed, without the strings used on Moment To Moment, for me an album he shouldn't have made. His great influence good old Slide Hampton is added on three of the eight tunes.
This is a must have ... so get your copy !!
At the Northsea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam this year Roy will perform with both groups, his RH Factor and his quintet, although with a different line-up. So seize the opportunity !!
Listen to the first track titled Nothing Serious or to one of the other tracks by clicking on the title bar.
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