Gifted trumpet/flugelhorn player ROY HARGROVE has emerged as one of the most influential artists leading to the resurgence of acoustic jazz music. Hargrove's clean, soulful, stylings punctuated with dazzling solo flourishes are the result of his unique interpretation of many forms of music encountered throughout his life. He has been recording as a leader for more than a decade, issuing four CDs on Novus before signing with Verve in 1993. No musician on today's scene has kept alive the spirit of the after-hours jam session as vigorously as Roy Hargrove. An aggressive, brilliant trumpeter with a charming, relaxed stage manner - and even an easy style of singing when the mood takes him - Hargrove is always ready to play.
Born October 16, 1969 in Waco, Texas, he was exposed to music at an early age, ranging from the passion and spirituality of gospel while attending church with family to the emotions of soul, R&B, and blues on the local radio. Under the guidance of music tutors from fourth grade to junior high school, his considerable skills developed. A performance by Ray Charles band saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman at his junior high would greatly influence Hargrove's interest in improvisation and melody. His career direction took shape during a high school workshop visit from Wynton Marsalis. Marsalis recognized the young trumpet player's talent and asked him to sit in with his band. With Marsalis' initial help, Hargrove was soon performing at Fort Worth's Caravan of Dreams Performing Arts Center with jazz luminaries Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, and Herbie Hancock. A European tour with Frank Morgan would follow before Hargrove even graduated high school. An abbreviated stay at Boston's Berklee College of Music and subsequent transfer to New York City's New School completed his academic training. At Berklee, Hargrove met saxophonist Antonio Hart and pianist Geoff Keezer, both of whom would perform on his debut album.
Along the way, Hargrove, widely recognized as one of the top improvising trumpeters, has not only wowed crowds throughout the world as he leads what is arguably the hardest working and most exciting band in jazz, but has also impressed critics who award him high scores in polls. In addition, Hargrove has been involved in a number of side projects, ranging from T. S. Monk's Monk on Monk recording to pop star D'Angelo's new album Voodoo. (Hargrove, who says that funk and R&B have always been an integral part of his music education, also went on the road with the singer to kick off his Voodoo tour).
He has been in demand as a guest on dozens of recordings, from elder statesmen of the music such as Oscar Peterson and Shirley Horn to his own contemporaries. He has also toured in a trumpet summit with Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, and Jon Faddis and has released critically acclaimed recordings for Verve including the 1997 Grammy Award-winning Habana, with his band Roy Hargrove's Crisol.
In 2003, Hargrove was awarded a Grammy for his participation in Directions in Music (Best Jazz Instrumental Album), along with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker.