Roy Hargrove Big Band w/ special guest Roberta Gambarini
Roy Hargrove, trumpet
Other musicians, TBA
With special guest
Roberta Gambarini, vocals
Since his emergence in the late 1980s, trumpet player Roy Hargrove has proved to be an adventurous and wide-ranging artist, proudly immersed in the jazz tradition and yet continually striking out for new terrain. Among his groups include the straight-ahead, hard bop Roy Hargrove Quintet and Crisol, an Afro-Cuban ensemble that won a Grammy in 1998 for Best Latin Jazz Performance with its album Habana. With the funk-oriented RH Factor, Hargrove released the 2003 album Hard Groove, featuring guest appearances by R&B superstars Erykah Badu, Common, and D’Angelo. His last album, 2008’s quintet session Earfood (Groovin’ High/Emercy), was featured in dozens of year-end Top 10 lists.
The seeds of Hargrove's big band were planted in 1995, when he first formed a big band for a New York jazz festival. His large ensemble concept grew as he led the evolving group through a series of regular gigs at the Jazz Gallery, a not-for-profit performance space in lower Manhattan – an experience that proved invaluable for both Hargrove and the musicians who participated. “The Jazz Gallery is for up-and-coming young players,” Hargrove explains. “I go around to jam sessions a lot, sit in with cats, and I think that the new generation doesn’t have a lot of experience playing in sections and playing in big bands. So this provides younger guys with a sense of camaraderie that is not really evident anymore in jazz.”
Hargrove's big band lineup eventually crystallized into the band featured on his latest record, Emergence (2009). The Grammy-nominated disc, his first big band release, marks the realization of a lifelong dream for Hargrove. The album's 19-piece ensemble is a vibrant and versatile group, tackling a wide range of material and styles with equal doses of precision and passion. In light of the current financial climate, one might wonder why Hargrove picked now to assemble a big band for a recording and national tour. "Financially speaking, this [was] probably the worst thing I could ever do," says Hargrove," but it [was] something that [needed] to be done, spiritually and musically speaking."
Hargrove’s big band, which cites the large bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson, and Gerald Wilson as key influences, has already been showcased at the Hollywood Bowl and SummerStage in New York’s Central Park. “The small group has been such a big deal for so long in jazz that people forget where the small groups came from,” says Hargrove. “There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you’re hearing your compositions and arrangements played by a wall of sound. I’m just trying to make some music that’s fun to hear and play.”
Tonight's performance will feature special guest Roberta Gambarini, a frequent collaborator with Hargrove who also recently enjoyed a Grammy nomination for her 2009 album So In Love.
131 W. 3rd St
New York, NY 10012