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Hargrove Talks Music, Twitter and the Year Ahead
Strictly using the Internet to keep up with Roy Hargrove is a difficult task. He’s not on Twitter, not very active on Facebook and no longer has his own website. He also hasn’t put out any studio albums since 2009. He’s a bit of an enigma online. Don’t be fooled however, Hargrove is still going quite strong, especially considering the struggle that exists for many.
“With what’s going on now, it’s kind of difficult for a lot of artists that play live instruments to survive because there’s not a lot of appreciation for it,” Hargrove told Life+Times. “Luckily we have places like where I’m at now, Joe Segal‘s [Chicago Jazz Showcase] club, especially here in Chicago. People love music here.”
He continues to perform nationally and internationally and remains in high demand. More than two decades deep in the game, Hargrove, 43, is a true pioneer when it comes to navigating the jazz, funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop intersection. Whether working purely as a jazz artist with his quintet, collabing with the Soulquarians, John Mayer and others, or leading his own funk group, big band or latin band, Hargrove has been all over the place. Being a jazz player first is what allows him to prosper everywhere else. “When you’ve got the tools to improvise, you can pretty much do anything you want to do. At the time, I was doing it as a tribute to my pops. He had just passed away in ’95, and I was just trying to get something to tribute [to] him because he had given me so much, and it came out like that. I wasn’t constantly trying to mix anything together, I was just doing something for my dad.”
Life+Times caught up with the horn player during his annual year-end residency in Chicago to discuss his past work, relationship with hip-hop and more.
Life+Times: The end of 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the Soulquarians, more or less. Talk about your time working with those guys.
Roy Hargrove: There was a lot of talented guys in that musical realm there. James Poyser, Spanky [Chalmers Alford], Pino Palladino, Questlove - those guys are really, really talented. They know how to put it in the pocket. I was just glad to know that there were some other people that were down with that. It allowed us to really get into some explorative things, rhythmically speaking. I was just glad to share that, because my father was an album collector, he had all the great records, and I’m sure that those [Soulquarian] cats were digging in the crates, too. It was fun, I had a good time.
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