Roy-Hargrove

Although several of his legendary predecessors met their maker while much younger the death of Roy Hargrove from a heart attack at the age of 49 is still a tragic event. Generally tagged as a five-star exponent of post-bop the trumpeter-composer was a hugely versatile artist who spread his stylistic net far and wide. Born in Waco, Texas, in 1969 and discovered by Wynton Marsalis, who heard him play as a teenager at his local high school, Hargrove studied briefly at Berklee but really honed his craft at jam sessions in New York in the early 90s, going on to become a key young voice on the acoustic jazz scene of the decade. The lustrous tone and swirling turn of phrase heard on albums such as Diamond In The Rough and With The Tenors Of Our Time, that paired him with icons such as Johnny Griffin, earned Hargrove favourable press. His charisma also made him an eye catching proposal for A&R executives.

Sharp-suited and neatly barbered, Hargrove was presented more or less in the Wynton mould, 'The Tradition' was safe in his hands. However, his horizons expanded, and his 1998 album Crisol was the first significant step on an exciting evolutionary road. This was a fine set of contemporary Latin jazz where Hargrove's soaring lyricism, melodic finesse and challenging improvisations came to the fore in a band that included such luminaries as pianist Chucho Valdes and saxophonist Gary Bartz. It deservedly landed Hargrove a Latin Grammy and, perhaps more importantly, served notice of his ability to write and arrange as well as solo at length.

Even sharper twists were to come, though. Hargrove had never denied his love for black popular music as well as jazz, and in the early 2000's he made a vital contribution to three key albums in soul and hip-hop of the period - D'Angelo's Voodoo, Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun and Common's Like Water For Chocolate. His horn arrangements and concise, punchy solos, particularly on songs with rapped verses and heavy duty beats, revealed a real understanding of how a soloist could enhance a groove without overwhelming it by the force of his own chops. Image-wise Hargrove went from suits to dreads, and the sartorial change looked like a good fit.

But better was to come. He founded his own electric band, The R.H Factor and made an ambitious fusion album, The Hard Groove, whose stellar guest list included Q-Tip, Meshell Ndegeocello and Steve Coleman. It turned out to be something of a forerunner for similarly eclectic projects years down the line. Think both Robert Glasper, who toured with Hargrove as a youngster, and Theo Croker, who has always been very vocal about the inspiration he drew from the trumpeter.

Hargrove would return to an acoustic setting for the last part of his career but hip-hop and funk resonances permeated his work in subtle ways. A singer as well as a horn player, Hargrove, like Louis Armstrong and Donald Byrd, was always comfortable straddling the boundary between high art and populism, and his premature passing is a terrible loss to audiences who were happy to listen beyond rather than within boundaries.

– Kevin Le Gendre

– Photo by Tim Dickeson

No one really noticed the quiet, contemplative figure who was sat listening to young pianist Charlie Stacey play an enthralling opening set at Ronnie's, yet bass titan Victor Wooten did just that. Perhaps he was sizing up the crowd, more likely he was just caught up in the music. Either way, by the time he hit the stage shortly after, he seemed to have the measure of this hallowed jazz space. Remarkably, this was the bass boss's debut appearance at the club – his starry bandmates, Dennis Chambers and Bob Franceschini, have both appeared before – and the relaxed atmosphere was perfectly conducive to Wooten's most playful instincts. Quite possibly the most technically gifted bass player of his generation, Wooten's status beyond the bass world has seen him grab Grammy Awards with banjoist Béla Fleck and tour alongside fellow low-end legends Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke. He joked with a wry smile: "I always wanted to be Stanley – I'm the short version".

This is just one example of the bassist's natural good-humoured showman tendencies, which are deeply imbedded thanks to having been playing gigs from the age of six with his Wooten Brothers family band. While there are countless proficient copy-cat players today, few know how to bring the house down with a carefully deployed body-spin, like Victor, deftly leaving his bass stationary, seemingly floating in the air as he pirouettes on the spot to grab the bass and eye-ball the crowd with a knowing stare. It took the audience's breath away. So much so he paused briefly to ask someone in close proximity "are you OK?" They were. Just. While this may be old-school stage-craft, it helps leaven the sheer density of notes that fly from him hands – his trade-mark 'double-thumbing' slap style capable of unleashing furious volleys of sound – almost like a tuned drum solo, which takes the lineage of Larry Graham's innovative percussive slap into another pyrotechnical universe.

Wooten1 DSC02016

The trio format allows each of these excessively skilled players space to roam – albeit initially with Wooten's bass volume pushed to excess for the first three or four songs. The latterday delicacy of Chambers' once steam-roller funk drumming was nearly little lost in the mix, but as the sound evened out the subtle beauty of his stick-work shone through. He didn't hold back all the time though, ramping up the tension with some dizzying metric shifts and thunderous solo breaks. Franceschini, like Wooten, made tasteful use of myriad effects to expand and harmonise his angular single note lines, sometimes creating a one-man sax chorus, while his solo sparring with Wooten sent bebop-esque sparks flying. Drawing mainly on music from the trio's 2017 Trypnotyx album, the songs showcased the rhythm section's mastery of dime-stop timing and huge shifts in dynamics – very often dropping to near silence – or actual silence – for pure dramatic effect. The bassist's renowned solo spots are always a highlight of his gigs and tonight he conjured soft chordal swells, pianistic two-handed runs and an increasingly long melodic loop, adding each extra note with Samurai-like skill to produce an unplayable snaking cascade. This compelling sight and sound even managed to stop the waiting staff in their tracks to simply marvel at the bassist's bewitching sonic magic.

– Mike Flynn

– Photos by Christian Doho

With the first names still be announced for the 2019 edition of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 July, the festival's organisers have announced a new monthly live music platform under the banner, Supreme Standards. This follows the successful spinoff event, Love Supreme at the Roundhouse, which took place in May this year and saw jazz fans flock to the iconic live music venue for a whole day and night of live performances.

Seeking to extend the festival's distinctive forward-looking approach to programming throughout the year, the new monthly session at Ghost Notes, Peckham, kicks off on 31 January 2019 with groove-led quartet Ruby Rushton (pictured) plus rising-star trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist/producer Emma-Jean Thackray. Curated and run by DJ and journalist Tina Edwards, the live sessions will be accompanied by additional podcasts, DJ mixes and articles on the Supreme Standards website.

Love Supreme founder Ciro Romano commented on this new monthly series: "Following the overwhelmingly positive response to our festivals this year, it felt like a great time to broaden what we're offering. We're keen to support the continuing resurgence in the popularity of jazz, particularly amongst the younger demographic, and to engage with a wider, more diverse audience. Tina is an incredibly well-respected figure in this area and will do a great job of spearheading this new chapter in the Love Supreme story".

Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.supremestandards.com

The seventh installment of the genre-busting Emulsion Festival is set to take place at the MAC in Birmingham on 2-3 November, featuring performances exploring the hinterland where improvisation and composition meet. Heading up these performances will be hugely acclaimed pianist Alexander Hawkins who appears as a special guest with the Emulsion Sinfonietta, to perform in a myriad of small and large line-ups on collaborations, improvisations and new music – much of it written by the players themselves.

The revolving line-up features such leading jazz and classical players as Trish Clowes (saxophones), Louise McMonagle (cello), Lauren Weavers (oboe/cor anglais), Donald Grant (violin), Percy Pursglove (trumpet/bass), Catriona McDermid (bassoon), Chris Montague (guitar), Tom Harrison (saxophone) and James Maddren (drums). Things become even more fluid the following day as the Emulsify session presents an interactive performance to include audience members and musicians, all collaborating in a 'noise choir' on specially written material composed by Trish Clowes.

– Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.macbirmingham.co.uk/whats-on/music

The winners of the 14th annual Parliamentary Jazz Awards took place on Tuesday 16 October, at PizzaExpress Live's Holborn venue, with the wide-range recipients reflecting the depth and diversity of the British jazz scene. Compéred by PizzaExpress Live's music manager Ross Dines, the winners included singer Ian Shaw for Jazz Vocalist of the Year; Indo-jazz clarinettist Arun Ghosh took home the prize for Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year and resurgent tenorist Denys Baptiste scooped Jazz Album of the Year for his acclaimed John Coltrane-inspired LP, The Late Trane.

Further winners included the bass-led Alison Rayner Quintet who won Jazz Ensemble of the Year; young guitarist Shirley Tetteh was awarded Jazz Newcomer of the Year; Sheffield jazz venue Jazz At The Lescar won Jazz Venue of the Year and long-running jazz blog, Bebop Spoken Here, took home the Jazz Media Award.

The Jazz Education Award was presented to expat saxophonist Jean Toussaint; Glasgow Jazz Festival director Jill Rodger was awarded the Services to Jazz Award and the Special APPJAG Award was presented to bassist, Tomorrow's Warriors and Dune Records founder Gary Crosby OBE. Award presenters on the night included British politicians and UK jazz names including co-chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group, Kelvin Hopkins MP and Lord Colwyn; Elaine Delmar, Jon Newey, Deirdre Cartwright, Sarah Champion MP, Chi Onwurah MP, Ian Shaw, Saad Gantar and Baroness Coussins. Live music at the ceremony came from a band comprised of Max Brittain, Alison Rayner, Henry Lowther, Fraser Smith and Sophie Alloway.

The full list of recipients is as follows:

Jazz Vocalist of the Year: Ian Shaw

Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year: Arun Ghosh

Jazz Album of the Year: Denys Baptiste – The Late Trane

Jazz Ensemble of the Year: ARQ – Alison Rayner Quintet

Jazz Newcomer of the Year: Shirley Tetteh

Jazz Venue of the Year: Jazz At The Lescar in Sheffield

Jazz Media Award: Lance Liddle – Bebop Spoken Here

Jazz Education Award: Jean Toussaint

Services to Jazz Award: Jill Rodger

Special APPJAG Award: Gary Crosby OBE

Page 3 of 253

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