Sunday, 30 August 2009

(Roy Hargrove) The RH Factor “Distractions”

(Roy Hargrove) The RH Factor

( Verve Records, 2006 )
Catalog # 000598702

01 Distractions (Intro)
02 Crazy Race
03 Kansas City Funk
04 On the One
05 Family
06 Distractions 2
07 A Place
08 Hold On
09 Bull***t
10 Distractions 3
11 Can’t Stop
12 Distractions 4

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove issued two albums at the same time in 2006: this one with electric instruments and Nothing Serious, an all-acoustic post-bop-oriented date. Kudos are owed to Verve for standing behind him so supportively in this day and age of safe, bland, and unimaginative “traditional” records. Distractions, like Hard Groove in 2003, is a neo-soul-jazz date with a healthy dose of funk and fusion tossed into the mix. Hargrove’s Hard Groove was the first time Hargrove left his bop orientation as a leader, and while that record had killer moments and loads of special guests — including D’Angelo, Common, Erykah Badu, Karl Denson, Steve Coleman, Q-Tip, Me’Shell NdegéOcello, and Cornell Dupree to name a few, this date is recorded with his own band, with a return appearance by D’Angelo on “Bull***t” and the great saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman playing on about half the set. The returning alumni from the Hard Groove band are Renee Neufville, who sings and plays a killer Wurlitzer; Bobby Sparks on keyboards (from piano to Moog to Rhodes); saxophonist Keith Anderson; and drummer Willie Jones III. There is a much more urban soul feel to this date, and the grooves themselves are tougher. On the opener, “Distractions,” which is a recurring theme on the disc, the horns and guitar are knotty — they touch on Miles, but they don’t drift. The sound is tight, edgy. Straight-up urban soul gets the nod on a few cuts here, most notably “Crazy Race,” the smooth funk of “Holdin’ On,” and “On the One,” all tracks featuring Neufville on vocals. “Family” is an impressionistic jazz-soul ballad. “Kansas City Funk” and “A Place” are hardcore funk (the latter in the manner of P-Funk and the Ohio Players), and it’s wonderful to hear Newman and Anderson along with Hargrove filling in the deep grooves. “Bull***t” is a blip-hop track. D’Angelo adds texture and rhythm (he produced the song), and this may be the album’s only throwaway, as it goes nowhere. It’s also the only tune here that doesn’t feel “song”-directed. It lacks lyricism, and goes for a Miles On the Corner vibe but never gets there. Still, that’s a small complaint in lieu of this deeply gratifying, fun, and in-the-pocket album. It’s perfect for a steamy summertime.
By Thom Jurek (AMG)

Roy Hargrove is a hard bop-oriented musician (and acclaimed “Young Lion”) who became one of America’s premier trumpeters during the late 1980s and beyond. A fine, straight-ahead player who spent his childhood years in Texas, Hargrove met trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis in 1987, when the latter musician visited Hargrove’s high school in Dallas. Impressed with the student’s sound, Marsalis allowed Hargrove to sit in with his band and helped him secure additional work with major players, including Bobby Watson, Ricky Ford, Carl Allen, and the group Superblue. Hargrove attended Berklee for one (1988-1989) before decamping to New York City, where his studio career took flight.
In 1990, the young Hargrove (he was only 20 at the time) released his first of five recordings for Novus. He often toured with his own group, which for several years including Antonio Hart. In addition to Novus, Hargrove also recorded for Verve and served as a sideman with quite a few notable figures, including Sonny Rollins, James Clay, Frank Morgan, and Jackie McLean, and the ensemble Jazz Futures. His Verve album roster includes 1995’s Family and Parker’s Mood. Habana (a Grammy-winning album of Afro-Cuban music) and Moment to Moment followed at the end of the decade. Hargrove also went on to contribute to well-received R&B albums by Erykah Badu and D’Angelo, but he also remained indebted to hard bop with such albums as 2008’s Earfood.
By Scott Yanow (AMG)

By Rob

1 comment:

ricky brown said...



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