Roy Hargrove, arguably one of the most gifted jazz musicians of his time, has passed away at the age of 49.
According to a report from NPR, Hargrove’s longtime manager, Larry Clothier, has confirmed Hargrove’s passing. The jazz star died on Friday, November 2, in New York City, from cardiac arrest. Hargrove’s heart issue stemmed from an on-going battle with kidney disease. Clothier admitted the star had been on dialysis for years.
Hargrove was a Texas native and was discovered by Wynton Marsalis, a fellow jazz trumpeter, while playing at a high school in Dallas. Over the years, Hargrove has collaborated with a number of artists and has won numerous awards for this talent. He was awarded his first Grammy in 1998 with his Afro-Cuban band Crisol for the album, Habana. He went on to win another Grammy award in 2002, this time for Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall, which featured the sounds of pianist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Michael Brecker.
Hargrove’s list of collaborations spanned across all genres, from other jazz legends to mainstream hip-hop, R&B, and soul artists.
In the year 2000, he recorded on Erykah Badu’s “Mama’s Gun,” D’Angelo’s “Voodoo,” and Common’s “Like Water for Chocolate.” His work was also featured on John Mayer’s album. He later reunited with D’Angelo for his 2015 comeback project, Black Messiah.
After hearing the news of Hargrove’s passing, many artists and fans have taken to social media to express their grief and show their appreciation for his work. On Instagram, musician Questlove shared a throwback photo of Hargrove, with the following caption.
“The Great Roy Hargrove. He is literally the one-man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music. Love to the immortal timeless genius that will forever be Roy Hargrove y’all,” he said.
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The Great Roy Hargrove. He is literally the one man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music. To watch him harmonize with himself stacking nine horn lines on mamouth 10 mins songs RARELY rewinding to figure out what he did. Or not even contemplating what the harmony was (this is up there with Jay Z never writes his rhymes territory) —-like you can hear an incomplete Dangelo song once—-like an 11 min song—-and then in 20 secs you know the EXACT SPOT ON line to bob in and weave out?!!!! I know I’ve spoken in every aspect of Soulquarian era recording techniques but even I can’t properly document how crucial and spot on Roy was with his craft man. We NEVER gave him instructions: just played the song and watched him go —-like “come back in 45 mins I’ll have something” matter of fact now that I think of it —-I was so amped to put handclaps on @Common’s #ColdBlooded @JamesPoyser and i didn’t even take proper time out to approve what he worked on, it was like I already knew. So when you hear us SCREAMING/laughing at the 1:51 mark (me/com/d/rahzel/james) that’s us MIND BLOWN at another #Game6 esque performance from Roy. And all that stuff towards the end? We just reacting in real time to greatness. Such a key component. And a beautiful cat man. Love to the immortal timeless genius that will forever be Roy Hargrove y’all. #RoyHargroveRip
Bassist Christian McBride, another Hargrove admirer and collaborator, shared his sadness at the loss.
“I have no words over the loss of my dear brother of 31 years. We played on a lot of sessions together, traveled a lot of miles together, laughed a lot together, bickered on occasion — and I wouldn’t change our relationship for anything in the world. Bless you, Roy Hargrove,” he tweeted.
Throughout his life, Hargrove advocated for a bigger audience for jazz, according to a report from Variety. He often attracted large crowds with his talent, but it’s reported that the trumpeter refused to take credit for the accomplishment, even after pulling in a full house during his two-week residency in January.
“You talk as though that’s a big deal. Back in the day, they used to play for much longer periods of time, which really helped to solidify the way the band sounded. It should be a month — it should be more. It’s not enough. Everywhere it’s not enough. But we can’t get people to really support jazz like that. People don’t come out to hear live music as much as they used to,” he said.
The jazz trumpeter was scheduled to perform this Saturday, November 3, at the TD James Moody Jazz Festival in New Jersey.