Aaaah, the 90s. This was one of my favorite eras, because this was around the time that I was now old enough to buy my own records, and check out music with friends my own age. I was a sophomore in high school (LAG, stand up!) when this album came out. I remember going to see Roy for the first time when I was about 16 years old at the Jazz Gallery, where he was performing the music of John Coltrane. I remember thinking that he played so much “older” than his years. If there is one jazz musician who has been here before, it’s Roy Hargrove. His feel (especially on a ballad) for me, is unsurpassed.
On Family (Verve), the first three tunes feature Hargrove’s incredible quintet of Ron Blake, Stephen Scott, Rodney Whitaker, and Greg Hutchinson, as they play songs that are an homage to Hargrove’s own family. On “Roy Allan” (tribute to Hargrove’s dad), Hutchinson’s feel is so infectious, you can’t help but bob (must be the Brooklyn in him). The album also features two other awesome rhythm sections and a hell of a list of special guests including Christian McBride, Wynton Marsalis, Karriem Riggins, Lewis Nash, and David “Fathead” Newman, to name just some. A beautiful mixture of standards and originals, young lions and masters, Hargrove has always been such an important figure in jazz not only because of the way he set the jazz scene ablaze as part of one of the most important eras in jazz, but because of this balance he always seems to be able to strike; super modern, yet steeped in tradition. Definitely one of my favorite RH albums, and the perfect day to play it!
Have a great weekend!
“Roy Allan” with Roy’s Big Band…