© - Steven A. Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.
Roy Hargrove, like a generation of “Modernist” trumpet players who made the Jazz scene primarily in the 1980s through to the present - a group that includes Wynton Marsalis, Terell Stafford, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Scott Wendholt, Tim Hagans and Ryan Kisor - “are all formidable technicians with a deep respect and understanding of the trumpet tradition going back to Louis Armstrong.” [Randy Sandke in Bill Kirchner, editor, The Oxford Companion to Jazz].
I recently came across a radio broadcast of Roy Hargrove performing with The Metropole Orchestra on July 15, 2000 at the The North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and was particularly impressed by his rendition of Henry Mancini’s title theme to the 1965 movie Moment to Moment, a tune that has always been one of my favorite ballads.
It prompted me to do a bit of research on Roy that led to this synopsis of his approach to Jazz as contained in Richard Cook and Brian Morton’s The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, 6th Ed which includes sentiments about Roy’s playing with which I very much agree.
"While much of the new jazz of the 1990's attracted criticism for excessive orthodoxy or mere executive showmanship, it's less often remarked that many of today's younger players exhibit a rhythmic bravado and harmonic lucidity which are a natural step forward from (and within) the tradition. After the sideways evolutionary paths of fusion, the so-called neo-classicism which players like Hargrove represent offers a dramatic refocusing, if not any particular radicalism. Hargrove is a highly gifted trumpeter whose facility and bright, sweet tone bring a sense of dancing fun to his music. But he is steadily working towards a gravitas that places him in the trumpet lineage as surely as [Wynton] Marsalis or [Jon] Faddis."
The following video features Roy’s radio broadcast performance of Moment to Moment from the July/2000 NSJF with the Metropole Orchestra conducted by Vince Mendoza. The arrangement is by pianist Larry Willis.