Trumpeter Roy Hargrove's 15th release, Earfood, is one of his best, showing that this not-so-young lion is in top shape. The disc features Justin Robinson (alto/flute), Gerald Clayton (piano), Danton Boller (bass) and Montez Coleman (drums), with Robinson's gushing alto ebullience, slightly loose around the edges, the perfect foil for Hargrove's eclectic moods, which range from brash and feisty to moody and introspective. Clayton is a real find, who 'speaks' swing, blues and gospel with fluency and feeling.
Earfood is a well-balanced banquet, offering a funky hard bop appetizer, straight-eighth-note cookers, a healthy portion of ballads and a live gospel send-up for dessert. "Strasbourg/St. Denis" is crisp and catchy and "Joy is Sorrow Unmasked" a tenderly inflected rumination. Lou Marini's "Starmaker," Kurt Weill's "Speak Low" and "Rouge," played out-of-tempo, are all standout ballad performances, often featuring the leader's irenic flugelhorn.
On Aug. 1st 2008, Hargrove brought his big band (including the entire Earfood combo) to the Central Park bandshell in New York. In spite of heavy rainshowers midway through the set, hardcore fans were rewarded with a generous set of stirring arrangements and dynamic soloing, including a guest appearance by vocalist Roberta Gambarini who scatted with dazzling brilliance over "On the Sunny Side of the Street," the first of three encore numbers. Hargrove even sang one himself, "September in the Rain," featuring lively call-and-response between himself and the band.
I'm Not So Sure; Brown; Strasbourg/St. Denis; Starmaker; Joy is Sorrow Unmasked; The Singer; Rouge; Mr. Clean; Style; Divine; To Wisdom the Prize; Speak Low; Bring it on Home to Me.
Roy Hargrove: Trumpet and flugelhorn; Justin Robinson: alto sax and flute; Gerald Clayton: piano; Danton Boller: bass; Montez Coleman: drums.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.