One of the most gifted jazz musicians of his generation, Roy Hargrove, has died at age 49 after reportedly suffering cardiac arrest.
Besides recording his own series of acclaimed albums, Hargrove became famous among urban music fans in the early 2000s as a member of the collective the Soulquarians, appearing on essential albums like D’Angelo’s “Voodoo,” Common’s “Like Water for Chocolate” and Erykah Badu’s “Mama’s Gun.”
NPR reported that Hargrove, who’d been on dialysis for many years, had been admitted to the hospital for “reasons related to kidney function” at the time of his death. He had been scheduled to perform in New Jersey Saturday night.
“The Great Roy Hargrove: He is literally the one man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music,” wrote Questlove in an Instagram post. “I know I’ve spoken (of) every aspect of Soulquarian era recording techniques but even I can’t properly document how crucial and spot on Roy was with his craft, man. We NEVER gave him instructions: just played the song and watched him go.”
Questlove wrote about how you can hear him and other band members screaming and laughing during a Hargrove solo on the Common track “Cold Blooded” because “that’s us MIND BLOWN… We were just reacting in real time to greatness… And a beautiful cat, man. Love to the immortal timeless genius that will forever be Roy Hargrove, y’all.”
Said another key young trumpeter, Keyon Harrold, “My heart again is broken by news of the trumpeter jazz king Roy Hargrove passing on… I was captivated by Roy’s soul,” Harrold wrote on Instagram. “The spirit that radiated from the bell of his horn was always a force of youth enthralled with the wisdom of old. A jazz future to a jazz legend in the eyes of many. One of the people I watched as a benchmark of what I could be as trumpet player musically. The epitome of a soloist. Amazing arranger and composer. A jazz historian… Roy, thank you. You were always the inspiration. You are already missed though you live forever!!!”
Hargrove was nominated for six Grammy Awards and won two — the first in 1998 for “Habana,” an album of Afro-Cuban music he recorded with his band Crisol, and the second in 2002 for “Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall,” a tribute to Miles Davis and John Coltrane on which he collaborated with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker.
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SOURCE: NBC News; Variety