While waiting for my connecting flight to Birmingham from Gainesville, I learned Roy Hargrove had died. Forty nine years old. Having studied the life of Grant Green, a jazz guitar great gone too soon at age 43, I know the scene is a hard one.
My first time seeing you, you were saying good bye to your daughter before going off on tour. The year was 2000. I’d just left Knight-Ridder and was interviewing you at the Jazz Gallery. Dale Fitzgerald who helped manage your career was there (another good one gone). At the time I was a freelancer for the now-defunct Internet start up UBO.com, one of a few freelance gigs I had before leaving New York City for grad school in 2003. I’d later see you perform many times at many clubs in New York and Atlanta and, of course, at festivals.
I was first introduced to your music in the 1990s by my former husband. Your 1994 With the Tenors of Our Time with some of the greats on tenor touched me as did later albums, among them Family (loved the tribute to your parents and brother)
and Moment to Moment.
And I loved the entire Habana album, especially “O My Sey Yey.”
I loved your RHFactor work, too, including “Poetry” with fellow Texan Erykah Badu and Q-tip.
I especially loved how you gave props to the elders and they, in turn, saw your greatness onstage, too. Your commitment to nurturing younger musicians with your big band work is also a testament to your commitment to community. I love Blue Note’s Lee Morgan, but you were my absolute favorite trumpeter.
Rest in peace. Listening to you was often like going to church. For real.