Thursday, August 21, 2008
Trumpeter Roy Hargrove is the definition of a questing musician, having tried his hand at a number of different styles. From funk/hip-hop work on Hard Groove to Latin on Habana, Hargrove hasn’t always succeeded but he’s never been afraid to pursue. On Ear Food his road-tested straight-ahead quintet focuses on demonstrating how jazz can be some of the world’s most exciting and exhilarating music.
Performing mostly originals, the focus is on the joy of playing at the highest levels with like-minded musicians. They never, however, forget that without an audience to “groove to it,” music is pedantic meandering.
Highlights include the delightful two-beat swinger “Strasbourg/St. Denis.” Gerald Clayton’s piano pops in perfect accord with Montez Coleman’s drum set accentuations, creating a colorful and vivid landscape from which Hargrove’s lines radiate. Ballads like “Joy Is Sorrow Unmasked” unleash Hargrove’s delicately balanced, full-bodied tone. The closing spirited gospel rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me” perfectly caps what will certainly reign as one of 2008’s best jazz discs.