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Earfood The Roy Hargrove Quintet

Roy Hargrove

Roy Hargrove makes no bones about his desire to play jazz for lots of paying customers. And why not? We all want jazz to be heard by a large audience. But how does one attract that audience without resorting to pop music and merely slapping the jazz label on it? Who are the role models?

For Hargrove, the most pertinent examples are the early-’60s hard-bop records by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers when fellow trumpeter Freddie Hubbard was in the band and the early-’70s jazz-funk records Hubbard made for producer Creed Taylor. Both bodies of work feature top jazz musicians playing heady theme-and-variation improvisations, but they also feature strong, steady grooves and catchy melodic themes. That’s the blend Hargrove is going for on his new album Earfood.

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