JJ 10/90: Roy Hargrove – Diamond In The Rough

Thirty years ago, Barry McRae advised "look out for this young trumpeter; he looks like he could be around for quite some time". First published in Jazz Journal October 1990


Roy Hargrove, who made a very positive mark with the group Generations at last year’s JVC New York Festival, is an habitual jam session man. He made his initial impact in Manhattan as a sitter-in and, perhaps because of this, has developed a style that seems to exude a competitive edge. Even on an item like Whis­per Not, he seems to throw down the gauntlet rather than create a mood of relaxation and he has a good, brassy tone with which to make his point.

Although much younger, he comes from the Marsalis genera­tion without being a slave to that style. He also shows in New Joy and All Over Again that he can write material ideal for eighties hard bop. His solo style is essentially lyrical, it has a sharp cutting edge but is attended by a natural improvisational manner. His reading of Easy To Love is particularly mature and probably rates as his best moment.

Both groups are excellent and there are tidy solo contributions from Moore and Hart. There is very little to choose between the two rhythm sections but it would be even more difficult to pick a winner from the excellent piano competition waged by Keezer and Hicks. Above all else, look out for this young trumpeter; he looks like he could be around for quite some time.

(a) Proclamation; (b) Ruby My Dear; (b) A New Joy; (b) Confidentially; (a) Broski; (b) Whisper Not; (a) All Over Again; (b) Easy To Remember; (a) Premonition; (b) Wee (63.00)
(a) Roy Hargrove (t); Ralph Moore (ts); Antonio Hart (as); Geoffrey Keezer (p); Charles Fambrough (b); Ralph Peterson Jr. (d). New York, December 1989. (b) Roy Hargrove (t); Antonio Hart (as); John Hicks (p); Scott Colley (b); Al Foster (d). New York, December 1989.
(Novus PD 90471)