Roy Hargrove Tribute at Jazz at Lincoln Center: Common, Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis & More Pay Homage to Late Trumpeter


He was speculated to be there. The feeling was unattainable to shake as Wynton Marsalis led the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra into New York's Rose Theater on Tuesday night time (Jan. eight), performing “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” as a standard second line — the prototypical jazz funeral.

Marsalis and Roy Hargrove have been meant to all the time be friends, two trumpet prodigies who turned their technical prowess in the direction of reinvigorating the music of jazz’s classical interval. Just eight years aside, they first met when Hargrove was 16; when he was main a band at New York’s Village Vanguard 4 years later, it was Marsalis who the New York Times credited with “discovering” the phenom.

But Hargrove wasn’t there, having died of cardiac arrest at age 49 the earlier November, and it was difficult for the musicians enlisted — regardless of the very fact that there have been 200 of them — to fill that void. At the Celebrating the Life and Work of Roy Hargrove occasion, all corners of Hargrove’s oeuvre have been featured in what turned out to be a marathon five-hour present.

The size was becoming. As bassist Christian McBride (who was enjoying alongside Hargrove at that Vanguard debut virtually 30 years in the past) famous in his opening speech, one factor that by no means modified about Hargrove was his power for the music. Even as his well being faltered, on any given night time Hargrove might be discovered at Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village for the 1:00 a.m. jam classes; alongside jazz college students and seasoned execs alike, he simply wished to maintain enjoying. “It was virtually unparalleled,” stated McBride. “He may actually play all night time.”

In that method, it made sense that the viewers — largely composed of buddies, household, and Hargrove’s musical group, if the simple banter and inside jokes have been any indication — didn’t need the music to cease. The Roy Hargrove Big Band began off the night with preparations from their 2009 album Emergence. Three songs in, there had already been seven trumpet solos, a quantity that would appear to multiply exponentially over the course of the night time. Yet, as stunning and chops-busting and evocative as all of them have been, it was onerous to not hear them and suppose what it might imply to listen to Hargrove play these songs he liked a lot another time.

The temper was mild, although: Hargrove’s mild, candy association of “September In The Rain” had a pair dancing within the aisles. When trumpet participant Theo Croker began a scatting call-and-response — the identical one Hargrove does on the report — it appeared like your entire theater joined in.

A quintet that includes Hargrove band alumni Karriem Riggins, Jon Batiste, Antonio Hart, Freddie Hendrix and McBride adopted, providing the modern modern jazz Hargrove made throughout his rise as a bandleader. Both Riggins and Batiste have since develop into higher identified exterior of jazz — Riggins for his pop collaborations, and Batiste because the musical director for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert — and it was actually refreshing to see them swing.

One of the night’s excessive factors adopted, as an ensemble of dwelling legends took the stage. Though getting onstage was one thing of a course of for them, as soon as pianist George Cables, bassist Ray Drummond, drummer Jimmy Cobb, and saxophonist Gary Bartz bought there, maintaining with the youthful cats proved no hassle in any respect. Dee Dee Bridgewater joined the group to carry out Horace Silver’s serene “Peace,” first recalling a live performance in Paris the place she’d carried out the tune with Hargrove.

The quintets and massive bands saved coming, displaying the sheer breadth of Hargrove’s musical impression — the variety of artists touched by what McBride known as Hargrove’s “uncommon musical knowledge.”

Two performances particularly channeled his musical extremes. Hargrove’s singular expertise for ballads is well-documented, and it’s onerous to think about a greater individual to pay tribute to that facet of his musical character than Norah Jones, who additionally attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. “He was the delight of our college — we have been all in awe of him,” she stated as she sat on the piano. “This track was written in 1938, however I discovered it in highschool, listening to Roy on my CD participant.” Then she performed an ideal, understated rendition of “The Nearness of You,” which seems on Hargrove’s 1995 album Family.

In stark distinction, the night’s upbeat conclusion drew on Hargrove’s love of deep grooves and basic funk with a reunion of the RH Factor, his genre-fusing band that related jazz with the work he’d performed alongside neosoul artists like Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and Common.

“I didn’t know jazz musicians might be that younger and be that contemporary,” the rapper defined of first assembly Hargrove earlier than kicking off a quick freestyle atop the band’s jubilant enjoying. The bass rumbled via the in any other case pretty staid Rose Theater because the strong ensemble carried out a variety of songs from their 2003 album Hard Groove; singers Stephanie McKay and Renee Neufville introduced down the home with beautiful takes on “Forget Regret” and “Juicy,” respectively. It was a superb reminder of simply how important Hargrove was to producing the jazz/R&B/hip-hop fusion that’s at the moment in vogue.

The RH Factor closed the night time with “Crazy Race,” a gloriously natural 21st century replace on basic collective improvisation, centered on a name to motion that feels much more pressing with out Roy amongst us: “We’re ‘bout to stand up on this factor, the time is now — what you ready for? It's time so that you can stand up and present the world what we now have in retailer.”