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Interview:
Roy Hargrove has earned the right to blow his own horn
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Roy Hargrove hails from Texas and now makes his home in New York.

But the jazz trumpet virtuoso has more than a little affinity for Detroit, thanks to influences (Barry Harris, Ron Carter), collaborators (bassist Rodney Whitaker) and friends.

"As soon as Rodney came into my group in the early 90s, I used to go out there all the time and play at the Serengeti (Ballroom) and hang out," Hargrove, 46, recalls by phone. "Marcus Belgrave would always lay out the red carpet for us any time we came to town, and I sort of bathed in the history and heritage of that place.

"I always trust that Detroit is going to have some great musicians. It's always been like that, for as long as I can remember. So when I'm there it does feel like kind of a homecoming."

Hargrove has certainly made himself at home in jazz -- and beyond. Since going professional after a short stay at the Boston's Berklee College of Music during the late 80s, Hargrove has racked up recording and performing credits on his own and with scores of others, ranging from Wynton Marsalis, David "Fathead" Newman and Sonny Rollins to R&B artists such as D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, rapper Common and rock guitarist John Mayer. The two-time Grammy Award winner is also a principal in the band RH Factor.

"I'm just doing what I do and I try to have fun doing it and enjoy it, and hopefully people can hear that," Hargrove says of his diverse track record. "Basically I've always felt that if you can improvise then you can play anything you want. I learned that sort of early on. If you can get to the piont where you can create music spontaneously there's no limit to what you can do.

"So I never looked at any of it as being separate or something different. It's all just music. It's like putting on a different jacket or a pair of pants. In the end it's still all music."

Hargrove is making some adjustments to the modern music market, however. He hasn't released a new studio recording since 2009's "Emergence," agreeing with his manager that "nobody's buying anything anymore." But he continues to compose and arrange new material, and he's thinking about going into his vault of live recordings from throughout his career and putting those out.

And, now in his mid-40s, he's adjusting to a role somewhere between the Young Lion of his youth and approaching elder statesman status.

"That feel funny -- people are calling me Mr. Hargrove and stuff," he says with a laugh. "I was looking on Facebook or something and one guy was like, 'Yeah, I listened to you back when I was 16,' and I thought, 'Omigod, time has just flown by...'"

Roy Hargrove with the Detroit Jazz Festival All Star Trio

7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, May 18-19.

Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, 97 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms.

Tickets are $90 including dinner.

Call 313-882-5299 or visit dirtydogjazz.com.

Note: Hargrove will be peforming at this year`s Detroit Jazz Festival, Sept. 2-5 in downtown Detroit, with both a string section and with his group RH Factor. Performance times and dates will be announced soon.


Web Site: www.dirtydogjazz.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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