Remembering Roy Hargrove

October 16, 1969 – November 2, 2018

A tribute to the great trumpeter

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Roy Hargrove passed away on November 2, 2018 at the age of 49.

He was born in Waco Texas on October 16, 1969, started playing trumpet when he was young and was discovered by Wynton Marsalis when he was in high school.

Hargrove made his recording debut in 1986 with his high school band but really got going in 1988 after moving to New York and recording with Superblue and Bobby Watson’s Horizon

An enthusiastic hard bop player inspired by Lee Morgan, Hargrove was signed by the Novus/RCA label in 1990 and was considered one of the giants of the Young Lions movement started by Wynton Marsalis a decae ago.

Always ready to play at a jam session, Hargrove usually egged on and shouted encouragement to the musicians in his groups which in the 1990s included Antonio Hart, Justin Robinson, or Sherman Irby on alto and John Hicks, Stephen Scott or Larry Willis on piano.

While he recorded with many veterans including Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Johnny Griffin, Joe Henderson, Helen Merrill, Abbey Lincoln, Ray Brown and Phil Woods, and played with such all-star groups as The Jazz Futures, Jazz Networks, and Herbie Hancock’s Directions In Music, Hargrove always led his own band too.

He took departures from hard bop when he recorded Afro-Cuban jazz on Habana and funk with his RH Factor.

His playing declined a bit in his later years due to health problems but it was a shock when Roy Hargrove passed away.

Here is Roy Hargrove at a Paris concert in 2007.


Roy Hargrove, trumpet
Justin Robinson, alto
Gerald Clayton, piano
Danton Boller, bass
Montez Coleman, drums

– Scott Yanow


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