R.I.P. Roy Hargrove (1969 – 2018)

The news of the untimely passing of trumpeter Roy Hargrove at the age of 49 have been a shock to the jazz world and to me personally. Roy has been a companion in my professional life since 1994, when he released his first Verve album ‘With The Tenors Of Our Time’ for which I coordinated the international marketing and promo efforts. I worked with him on most of the follow up albums to that, including such masterpieces as ‘Family’, ‘Moment To Moment’ and the wonderful ‘Habana’, which won him a Grammy. Roy opened the doors for all the young musicians playing  a modern jazz by including R&B and Soul into the mix – his RH Factor recordings and his work with D’Angelo, Common and others are outstanding testimony to that. Later I signed Roy to the EmArCy label and we released his so far last two studio recordings – the amazing quintet album ’Earfood’ and a big band recording entitled ‘Emergence’. But most of all I will remember Roy as the man who made the late-night jam sessions at the Hotel Bel Air something truly special – the place to be during the North Sea Jazz Festival when the event still took place in The Hague – hours of jamming and playing with such energy, power and passion. Once in Vitoria-Gasteiz at the festival there I saw him doing a trumpet battle in the early hours with Wynton and Nicholas, supported by the Eric Reed trio … unforgettable!!! I never heard anything like it since … a true battle, but done with smiles all around and musical inspiration that came from sources within, something only the really great musicians have!! Roy battled most of his life with his demons, then with his kidney problems, but when he went on stage he was pure focus and pure music! When I hear and saw him in Rotterdam in July this year he sounded great and played wonderful Soli to a grateful and enthusiastic audience. Roy Hargrove will always be remembered as a great musician, innovator, improviser and fantastic composer and will be missed by many – me including.

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