Bob Perkins Remembers Trumpeter Roy Hargrove

Nov 9, 2018

News of the death of jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove sent shock waves through the jazz community, and even provoked concern among those not into jazz music. There was natural wonder about why he died so young.

Hargrove was only 49 years of age when he suffered cardiac arrest. Some people may have known he had been on dialysis for some years, which must have slowed his performance schedule. Treatment for patients on dialysis for kidney ailments, usually take up several hours and day, three days a week.

But, Hargrove still managed to maintain a hectic pace, and had been involved in various forms of music for years, starting out with the classic jazz of the Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk era, and later branching out into Latin jazz, soul and funk. I once heard jazz icon and music-educator Jimmy Heath, applaud Hargrove for his involvement in multiple forms of music.

Hargrove received a helping-hand through encouraging words from Wynton Marsalis early in his career, when Marsalis heard him play during a visit to Hargrove's high school. As Hargrove matured, musically, he was sometimes spoken of as the second coming of Wynton Marsalis, who had become a world-renowned musician, music-educator and leading spokesman for the jazz genre.

As a bandleader, Hargrove recorded more than 20 albums under his own name, and can be heard in a supporting role on dozens of others. He, too, was an outspoken supporter of jazz music, offering in one interview, that ..."we can't get people to really support jazz today. People just don't come out to hear live jazz like they used to." But to his credit as a motivating force in jazz, his concerts and club dates were usually well attended.

Hargrove, was one of the most outstanding jazz trumpet players of his era; he could play cleanly at break-neck speeds, and render ballads capable of massaged the heart. He had so much more to say, musically. In his youth...and like young Dizzy, Miles, Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan before him, he was hailed as "The Young Man With A Horn.

Roy Anthony Hargrove...was another son of Gabriel.