Roy Hargrove – Emergence
| Roy Hargrove
Groovin High/Emarcy – 2009
The new album from acclaimed trumpeter, composer and bandleader Roy Hargrove is his first big band album and features an accomplished and refreshing mix of original compositions (from both Hargrove and his bandmates), standards, and favorites from outside writers. Stylistically, the music ranges from furious swingers to majestic ballads to rollicking Latin jams.
The seeds of Emergence were planted in 1995, when Hargrove first formed a big band for a New York jazz festival. His big band 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 – which proved an 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.”
The lineup solidified into the group showcased on the eleven tracks of Emergence, which features Hargrove on trumpet, flugelhorn, and a rare lead vocal (on the standard “September in the Rain”) alongside four other trumpet players (Frank Greene, Greg Gisbert, Darren Barrett, Ambrose Akinmisure), four trombonists (Jason Jackson, Vincent Chandler, Saunders Sermons, and Max Seigel on bass trombone), five reedists (Bruce Williams, alto saxophone and flute; Justin Robinson, alto and flute; Norbert Stachel, tenor sax and flute; Keith Loftis, tenor and flute; and Jason Marshall, baritone sax and flute), and the rhythm section of pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Danton Boller, guitarist Saul Rubin, drummer Montez Coleman and percussionist Roland Guerrero.
Vocalist Roberta Gambarini (named “Rising Star Female Vocalist of the Year” in Downbeat’s 2009 Critic’s Poll) contributes two affecting performances. The album’s repertoire boasts an accomplished and refreshing mix of original compositions (from both Hargrove and his bandmates), standards, and favorites from outside writers. Stylistically, the music ranges from furious swingers to majestic ballads to rollicking Latin jams.