I heard that Roy Hargrove was coming to Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle and I thought, “This might bring Taylor (my son at CWU) home for the weekend.” Just as I hoped, he jumped at the chance to see one of his favorite musicians live.
All About Jazz said, “The Music world would be hard pressed to find another ambassador capable of traversing the worlds of straight ahead swingin’ and the funky underground better than Roy Hargrove.”
Hargrove and his band — Justin Robinson (sax), Sullivan Fortner (piano), Ameen Saleem (bass) and Quincy Phillips (drums) play in such an easy fashion that it feels like you’re sitting in their living room watching them jam. Hargrove doesn’t say much. He just ends one song and begins another, with his adept band following along. Members later told my son that they never really know what he’s going to play next.
The Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley website has this to say about Hargrove: As a trumpeter, composer, and an arranger, Roy Hargrove has been a mainstay of the contemporary music scene in a variety of formats for nearly two decades. Since his own emergence in the late ’80s, Hargrove has proved to be an adventurous and wide-ranging artist, proudly immersed in the jazz tradition and yet continually striking out for new terrain.
In 1998, Hargrove’s Cuban-based band Crisol won the Best Latin Jazz Performance Grammy for the album Habana. And in 2002, Hargrove, Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker won Best Instrumental Jazz Album, Individual or Group, for their three-way collaboration Directions in Music.
Taylor’s take on the evening was this: Roy Hargrove leads his band in a light-hearted style of playing that has a nice flow, largely because of the emphasis he puts on improvisation, not only in solo’s but also in arrangements. He has found a way to bring the joy in listening to his music to the untrained ear (that would be me, his mom), while still reaching a level of maturity to astonish many accomplished jazz musicians (that would be my son, Taylor).
As one who loves music but is a novice when it comes to jazz, I enjoyed the concert because Hargrove played some standards that he wove the melody in and out of, which helped me follow it; he played one of my all-time favorites, Strasbourg St. Denis; and he sang on several songs, which felt like home.
Lucky for those who missed the band last weekend, The Roy Hargrove Quintet has extended its engagement and will play Tuesday, October 29 and Wednesday, October 30 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 for dinner. Tickets are $26.50.
Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley is located on the corner of 6th Avenue and Lenora Street in downtown Seattle, one block north of the Westin Hotel. The entrance is in the alley between 6th and 5th Avenues. Free parking with validation is available at the Westin Building Garage at 2010 5th Avenue.
These very blurry photos were taken by Elizabeth Griffin on her smart phone.