I Remember Roy

This video features trumpeter Roy Hargrove performing “I Remember Clifford” with the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Band at the 2007 Burghausen International Jazz Week in Germany. Hargrove passed away yesterday at the age of forty-nine.

Benny Golson wrote the song in memory of Clifford Brown, who was killed in a car accident at twenty-five. Many, ourselves included, consider Clifford Brown one of the greatest trumpeters of all time.

Hargrove came out of the “Young Lions” movement of neo-bop in the late 80s and early 90s, but he quickly settled into a more innovative role, notably recording with R&B acts through the Soulquarians, a musical collective that met at Manhattan’s Electric Lady Studios. Hargrove’s smoldering overdubs warmed neo-soul classics by D’Angelo and Erykah Badu.

The earliest appearance of Hargrove we could find in our own jazz collection was as a sideman on a great Ricky Ford album released in 1989. The album is one of our favorites by Ford, because it marked his shift from being the youngest musician on the record to the one who is supporting the next generation of performers. Although his career quickly shifted away from the neo-bop movement, including a Grammy-winning Cuban collaboration and his hip hop heavy outfit the RH Factor, he was always great in traditional jazz settings. Hargrove’s second Grammy came for an acoustic album with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker.

The loss of Roy Hargrove at such a young age is a tragedy for jazz, because he won’t have the opportunity to serve as an elder statesman of the art form and continue to help younger musicians.

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