The RH Factor: Distractions (2006)
The set begins with the promise of Hargrove's trumpet quicksilver runs through the opening "Distractions (Intro). Then his hot trumpet bounces through the second tune, "Crazy Race ... but these opening glimmers prepare expectations for greatness that the rest of the music just never reveals.
Distractions basically offers two solid pieces: the title track, chaotic yet streamlined modern jazz chopped into four servings as brief as twenty seconds ("Distractions 3 ) and as long as four minutes (the set-ending "4 ); and the track with D'Angelo. The remainder, mainly co-composed by Neufville and featuring her lead vocal, sound like bargain bin Patrice Rushen, limpid music that's not quite jazz or funk.
To be fair, "A Place cops the guitar voicings from Heatwave's classic "Groove Line and scratches them against powerful trumpet blasts; Hargrove opens soft around the edges in a romantic Herb Alpert mood before soaring high and mighty mighty, like Lee Morgan just lettin' it all hang out. Hargrove also finds much inspiration in D'Angelo's bad-ass hip-hop funk groove, singing through his mute just to sound a little edgy, like he was beaming through some magical, time-traveling old-time radio into its thick, rubbery jam.
The fact that he further blows his ass off over the blistering groove of "Distractions 4 more than four minutes, thankfully, of steady rockin' instrumental boilalmost makes the rest of these Distractions more disappointing. The whip-crack sound of the snare drum, its almost ridiculous, sustained fast tempo, and the monumental energy and fever of Hargrove's trumpet are enough to make you wonder, "Where was this guy for the past half hour?
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Track Listing: Distractions (Intro); Crazy Race; Kansas City Funk; On the One; Family; Distractions 2; A Place; Hold On; Bull***t; Distractions 3; Can't Stop; Distractions 4.
Personnel: Roy Hargrove: trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals; Keith Anderson: saxophone; David "Fathead" Newman: saxophone, flute; Bobby Sparks; organ, Moog, Rhodes, piano, clavinet; Renee Neufville: Wurlitzer, vocals; Charles McCampbell: clavinet, piano, XP80; Todd Parsnow: guitar; Lenny Stalworth: bass; Reggie Washington: bass; Willie Jones III: drums; Jason "JT" Thomas: drums, vocals; D'Angelo: vocals, ASR 10.
Record Label: Verve Music Group