Roy Hargrove Presents the RH Factor: Hard Groove (2003)
Hargrove meets his objective, perhaps even surpasses it, with an album that sounds like one Lester Bowie and Maxwell would make together. He steers Hard Groove toward the trumpet school opened by Donald Byrd, especially with the wah-wah sound trumpet production and hand-clapping street funk of 'Common Free Style.' There are other miles-tones: Hargrove's approach and brittle processed sound to his trumpet ' quicksilver darting atop roiling funk rhythms ' urge 'Juicy' and 'Out of Town' closer to such fractious pre-retirement musings of Miles as Black Beauty.
The opener, 'Hardgroove,' a clever wordplay on the leader's name, paints a new face on hard bop jazz, rocking up top with trumpet and saxophone in unison and in counterpoint, rocking down below with inventive and challenging bass and drum rhythms. Denson and Hargrove riff on Freddie Hubbard's 'Little Sunflower' to form the instrumental poetry behind Q-Tip's spoken riffing and Badu's singing on 'Poetry,' creating a very different type of vocal jazz. (Don't sweat Hargrove's jazz chops: this past February, Hargrove, Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker won the Best Instrumental Jazz Performance Grammy Award for Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall.)
Track Listing: Hardgroove; Common Free Style; I'll Stay; Interlude; Pastor "T"; Poetry; The Joint; Forget Regret; Out of Town; Liquid Streets; Kwah / Home; How I Know; Juicy; The Stroke
Personnel: Roy Hargrove (arranger, trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards, bass, percussion, vocals); Keith Anderson (saxophones); Jacques Schwarz-Bart (saxophones); James Poyser (keyboards); Bobby Sparks (keyboards); Bernard Wright (keyboards); Spanky (Chalmers Alford) (guitars); Cornell Dupree (guitars); Pino Palladino (bass); Reggie Washington (bass); Willie Jones III (drums); Jason Thomas (drums); Erykah Badu (vocals); Steve Coleman (alto saxophone); Common (vocals); D'Angelo (vocals, Wurlitzer); Karl Denson (flute); Anthony Hamilton (vocals); Shelby Johnson (vocals); Stephanie McKay (vocals); Meshell Ndegeocello (bass); Renee Neufville (vocals); Q-Tip (vocals)
Record Label: Verve Music Group