The Stylings of Roy Hargrove

Roy_hargrove_1_2"You can’t be a mediocre musician there," jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove says of Cuba. "You have to play each note as if it’s your last one."

At thirty-six, trumpeter Roy Hargrove has firmly established himself as among the premiere players in jazz. Always stretching into more challenging and colorful ways to flex his musical chops, Hargrove was already a rising jazz sensation in 1995, when legendary Cuban pianist Jesús "Chucho" Valdes invited him to participate in the Havana Jazz Festival. While there, he and Valdes assembled a band called Crisol, and recorded a CD, Habana, which went on to win a Grammy Award in 1997 for Best Latin Jazz Performance.

In 2002, Hargrove won another Grammy, this time with Herbie Hancock, and Michael Brecker for Best Instrumental Jazz Album.

Hargrove was born in Waco, Texas, in 1969. Inspired by the gospel music he heard in churchRoy_hargrove_2 and the R&B and funk music that he heard on the radio, he began learning the trumpet in the fourth grade. By junior high school, he was playing at an advanced level of proficiency. At sixteen, he was studying music at Dallas’s Booker T. Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts.

Midway through his junior year, Roy was "discovered" by Wynton Marsalis, who was conducting a jazz clinic at the school. Impressed, Marsalis invited Roy to sit in with his band. Subsequently, Hargrove sat in with Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, and Bobby Hutcherson. He later toured Europe.

Hargrove attended Berklee College in Boston for a year, but found more life in jam sessions than in school. On weekends and many school days, he left the Berklee campus and headed to New York City, playing on the streets, with friends, and anywhere he could. Eventually, he left Boston for the New School in New York.

Hargrove’s eclectic mix of jazz, funk, and gospel is sought-after by such vocalists as Natalie Cole, Diana Ross, and John Mayer. He has released a dozen CDs.

Playing with his quintet, Roy Hargrove headlines the mainstage McCurdy Pavilion performance at Jazz Port Townsend on Saturday, July 28, at 7:30 pm. Behind him will be Gerald Clayton, piano; Danton Boller, bass; Montez Coleman, drums; and Justin Robinson, alto sax and flute. Tickets are available by calling Centrum at 360.385.3102, x117 and online at Centrum’s secure Acteva site.