LOS ANGELES (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Trumpeter Roy Hargrove, a prolific player who provided his jazz sound to records across a vast range of styles and won two Grammys, has died at age 49, his manager said Saturday.
Hargrove, a Texas native, died on Friday of cardiac arrest stemming from a longtime fight with kidney disease, longtime manager Larry Clothier said in a statement.
Clothier said Hargrove “was known just as intensely for his brimming fire and fury as he was for his gorgeous, signature balladry. Over and over, his sound attested to and sanctified his deep love for music. His unselfish timbre covered the waterfront of every musical landscape.”
Many of Hargrove’s peers regarded him as the greatest trumpeter of his generation. Through his own bands and as a sideman, Hargrove brewed his jazz with African and Latin sounds, R&B, soul, pop, funk and hip-hop.
He led the progressive, genre-melding group The RH Factor, played in sessions for Common, Erykah Badu and D’Angelo, and collaborated with jazz giants including Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis.
“He is literally the one man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music,” Questlove, drummer and leader of the Roots, said on Instagram Saturday. “Love to the immortal timeless genius that will forever be Roy Hargrove y’all.”
View this post on Instagram
The Great Roy Hargrove. He is literally the one man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music. To watch him harmonize with himself stacking nine horn lines on mamouth 10 mins songs RARELY rewinding to figure out what he did. Or not even contemplating what the harmony was (this is up there with Jay Z never writes his rhymes territory) —-like you can hear an incomplete Dangelo song once—-like an 11 min song—-and then in 20 secs you know the EXACT SPOT ON line to bob in and weave out?!!!! I know I’ve spoken in every aspect of Soulquarian era recording techniques but even I can’t properly document how crucial and spot on Roy was with his craft man. We NEVER gave him instructions: just played the song and watched him go —-like “come back in 45 mins I’ll have something” matter of fact now that I think of it —-I was so amped to put handclaps on @Common’s #ColdBlooded @JamesPoyser and i didn’t even take proper time out to approve what he worked on, it was like I already knew. So when you hear us SCREAMING/laughing at the 1:51 mark (me/com/d/rahzel/james) that’s us MIND BLOWN at another #Game6 esque performance from Roy. And all that stuff towards the end? We just reacting in real time to greatness. Such a key component. And a beautiful cat man. Love to the immortal timeless genius that will forever be Roy Hargrove y’all. #RoyHargroveRip
A native of Waco, Hargrove was discovered by his fellow trumpeter Marsalis while Hargrove was playing at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. He went on to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and then transferred to the New School in New York, where he joined in jam sessions at jazz clubs in the evening. One of those clubs, the Blue Note, said on its Twitter account Saturday that Hargrove was a “young master and friend gone too soon.”
Legendary trumpeter Wynton Marsalis heard Hargrove play in 1987, during a clinic at Booker T. and quickly invited the then-teenager to play with him just a few days later at a performance in Fort Worth.
Hargrove released his first solo album, “Diamond in the Rough,” in 1990. He won his first Grammy in 1998 with his Afro-Cuban band Crisol for its album “Habana.” He then won another in 2002 for “Directions in Music: Live at Massey Hall,” featuring a band he led with pianist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Michael Brecker.
Questlove, who worked with Hargrove on several projects, said his improvisational skills were astonishing.
“I can’t properly document how crucial and spot on Roy was with his craft man,” he said. “We NEVER gave him instructions: just played the song and watched him go.”
Other tributes flowed from the musical community as word spread of Hargrove’s death.
“I have no words over the loss of my dear brother of 31 years,” bass player Christian McBride said on Twitter. “We played on a lot of sessions together, traveled a lot of miles together, laughed a lot together, bickered on occasion — and I wouldn’t change our relationship for anything in the world. Bless you, Roy Hargrove.”
Trumpet player and composer Keyon Harrold called Hargrove the “trumpeter jazz king” on Instagram.
“The spirit that radiated from the bell of his horn was always a force of youth enthralled with the wisdom of old,” Harrold said.
Don Cheadle, who directed and starred in the 2016 movie “Miles Ahead” about trumpet great Miles Davis, tweeted a picture of himself with Hargrove, saying: “You were a beautiful soul, young lion, you will be terribly missed.”
Hargrove is survived by his wife Aida, daughter Kamala, mother Jacklyn and brother Brian.
Memorial plans are in the works, but no details have been announced yet.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)