2008 release and review
Discovered by Wynton Marsalis, Hargrove made his solo debut in 1990 on Novus/RCA; he made his Verve Records debut in 1994 and had recorded eight albums for the venerable label, including 2006's double release, DISTRACTIONS featuring the contemporary funk/jazz sounds of the RH Factor, and Nothing Serious, featuring straight ahead jazz by the Roy Hargrove Quintet with special guest Slide Hampton. This album was recorded by Roy's working quintet, playing a repertoire consisting of songs they play live while on tour, mixed in with a few new originals. Simple melodies moving around luscious chords are to the fore, and Roy gets back to his Jazz roots after the RH Factor releases. Ear Food presents a richly colored snapshot of an artist reaching his prime, a young player once dubbed ubiquitously as the 'Young Lion', is now head of the Jazz Pride. He has nothing left to prove as his current trumpet sound reveals in his total command of tone that's inflected with subtle emotions and, when needed, pure Hard Bop power.
Artist Biography by Scott Yanow
Roy Hargrove was a hard bop-oriented musician (and acclaimed "Young Lion") who became one of America's premier trumpeters during the late '80s and beyond. A fine, straight-ahead player who spent his childhood years in Texas, Hargrove met trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis in 1987, when the latter musician visited Hargrove's high school in Dallas. Impressed with the student's sound, Marsalis allowed Hargrove to sit in with his band and helped him secure additional work with major players, including Bobby Watson, Ricky Ford, Carl Allen, and the group Superblue. Hargrove attended Berklee for one (1988-1989) before decamping to New York City, where his studio career took flight.
In 1990, the young Hargrove (he was only 20 at the time) released his first of five recordings for Novus. He often toured with his own group, which for several years including Antonio Hart. In addition to Novus, Hargrove also recorded for Verve and served as a sideman with quite a few notable figures, including Sonny Rollins, James Clay, Frank Morgan, and Jackie McLean, and the ensemble Jazz Futures. His Verve album roster includes 1995's Family and Parker's Mood. Habana (a Grammy-winning album of Afro-Cuban music) and Moment to Moment followed at the end of the decade. Hargrove also went on to contribute to well-received R&B albums by Erykah Badu and D'Angelo, but he also remained indebted to hard bop with such albums as 2008's Earfood. A year later, Hargrove returned with his 19-member big band on Emergence. Sadly, Hargrove died in November 2018 at the young age of 49; he had been on dialysis for well over a decade and died from cardiac arrest associated with his kidney disease
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