The trumpeter, composer and arranger Roy Hargrove was always looking to explore all aspects of this music called jazz. In his pursuit he led a straight-ahead jazz quintet, an Afro-Cuban band, his RH Factor mixed R&B, hip hop, funk and jazz idioms. His big band captured an innovative freedom, a hard bop swing that reminded you of the Billy Eckstein and Jimmy Lunceford big bands. It was in Big Band mold he sang standards like “September in the Rain.” The band’s repertoire was comprised of Hargrove’s arrangement of originals, standards, and new music by band members. They released one album, “Emergence,” under Roy’s leadership
The Roy Hargrove Big Band was originally started in the rehearsal space that would later become The Jazz Gallery. The Big Band had its debut performance at the Greenwich Village Jazz Festival in 1995. Since then, the band has toured throughout the United States and internationally with stops in Japan and Europe.
Roy Hargrove Legacy LLC, the company founded by his wife, Aida Brandes-Hargrove and daughter, Kamala, has re-launched The Roy Hargrove Big Band to honor Roy’s legacy and the big band sound that he loved. Performances will feature musicians who played with Roy in the big band and in his other ensembles. Ms. Brandes-Hargrove is the band’s executive director. Bruce Williams, lead alto saxophonist and big band member from 1997 until Hargrove’s death in 2018, is music director. Baritone saxophonist and also long-time big band member Jason Marshall serves as assistant music director.
On June 2, the Roy Hargrove Big Band can be found at its monthly residency, the first Thursday of each month at the Jazz Gallery (1158 Broadway, 5th floor) where it all began. Two sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. For reservations visit the website jazzgallery.org.
The Blue Note jazz club is one of the most storied venues in New York City presenting the renowned musicians of the day from Stanley Turrentine, Roy Haynes to Ron Carter. Some 10 years ago the club birthed the Blue Note Jazz Festival. Each June, Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village presents an array of artists at various noted venues in the city that will include Sony Hall,
SummerStage in Central Park, The Town Hall, and Washington Square Park. The first ever Blue Note Jazz Festival was held in 2011, commemorating the 30th anniversary of Blue Note New York. Headliners have included Chris Botti, McCoy Tyner, Dave Brubeck, Bobby McFerrin, Chaka Khan, Charles Tolliver and Stanley Clarke.
The Blue Note Festival with its eclectic array of artists kicks off on June 2 with Kenny Garrett still one of the under-rated alto saxophonist composers, who is heavy on improvisational grooves. He tells a story every time he picks up his sax. Garrett performs at the Blue Note jazz club until June 5 with two sets each night at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The Late Night Blue Note will feature the musician for all music from hip hop to funk, jazz and stuff in between that he continues to compose pianist Robert Glasper. On June 7-12, the six-string guitarist Al Di Meola, an alumnus of Return To Forever, performs at the Blue Note. On June 8 at Sony Hall (235 West 46th St.) the rapper and record producer RAKIM performs with special guest saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. On June 10 at Sony Hall the guitarist, songwriter, composer, and producer Fabrizio Sotti shakes it up with Ice T & M1 of Dead Prez. On June 11 NEA Jazz Master pianist, composer, arranger Herbie Hancock appears at SummerStage featuring trumpeter Keyon Harrold as the opening act. Bilal, who brings another nuance to singing, performs June 13 at Sony Hall plus opener introducing: Bee B.
On June 15 George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic w/The Motet + Turkuaz Horn Section, Dopapod, Pimps of Joytime, Blu Eye Extintion will funk-up Summerstage. On June 17 the native of the Crescent City Chief Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott) returns to New York with new music, a new title and more innovative impressions that only he can put together.
For a complete schedule visit the website bluenotejazzfestival.com.
On June 11 get in deep and in a new experience with Irreversible Entanglements, a liberated group that cultivates the technologies of jazz with all its roots from the past and present. The band’s uncompromising artistic vision emerges from the experience of its five acclaimed members: poet Camae Ayewa, a/k/a Moor Mother, is a globally leading light of Afrofuturist music, art, and community activism. Bassist Luke Stewart boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of the music from which he draws with focused and thunderous intensity. Saxophonist Keir Neuringer’s prodigious avant garde technique is matched by an urgency in his tone and fierce socio-political determination. Experience their sounds at National Sawdust (80 N. 6th St. in Brooklyn). For more information, visit nationalsawdust.org.