Roy Hargrove, a jazz trumpeter who received worldwide acclaim after he won two Grammy awards and is known for both staying true to the bebop tradition while also venturing out into hip-hop, R&B and neo-soul, died on Friday night in New York City. He was 49.
Roy Hargrove, a virtuoso trumpeter who became a symbol of jazz’s youthful renewal in the early 1990s, and then established himself as one of the most respected musicians of his generation, has died at 49 after a struggle with kidney disease https://t.co/2kD36TeIzl
— New York Times Arts (@nytimesarts) November 4, 2018
Although the trumpeter had long battled kidney disease, the cause of death was cardiac arrest, according to Hargrove’s longtime manager, Larry Clothier.
For the past 30 years, Hargrove carved out his place in jazz. But his style could not be contained in one genre. He made crucial contributions to Voodoo, the mesmerizing and influential album by D’Angelo, which was released in 2000. Hargrove also made appearances on Erykah Badu‘s Mama’s Gun and Common’s Like Water for Chocolate, and he later formed his own project, The RH Factor, hoping to further bridge the gap between modern jazz, hip-hop and R&B, according to NPR.
Born on Oct. 16, 1969, in Waco, Texas, to Roy Allan and Jacklyn Hargrove, Roy grew up in Dallas, where he attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, an arts magnet school where Erykah Badu and Norah Jones also attended. Hargrove took trumpet lessons and was discovered by Wynton Marsalis when Marsalis visited the school.
Hargrove attended the Berklee College of Music on scholarship for 18 months, before transferring to the New School in New York.
Hargrove’s first album, Diamond in the Rough, was released on the Novus imprint of RCA in 1990, after which he went on tour with a package called Jazz Futures, featuring alto saxophonist Antonio Hart and bassist Christian McBride, NPR said.
It wouldn’t be long before Hargrove earned approval from his elders, including saxophonist Bobby Watson and tenor saxophone titan Sonny Rollins, who featured Hargrove on a song called “Young Roy” in 1991, and also included Hargrove at his 80th birthday concert in 2010.
Hargrove would pay it forward, becoming a mentor of his own to many. Fellow trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire was one of many younger musicians paying tribute to Hargrove on social media.
“I don’t think I would be alive if I hadn’t met him when I did. I am extremely grateful I got to tell him as a grown man to his face,” Akinmusire tweeted.
Hargrove was a two-time Grammy winner, in the categories of best jazz instrumental album in 2003 for Directions in Music, and best Latin jazz performance in 1998 forHabana, a groundbreaking Afro-Cuban project recorded in Havana, according to NPR.
Hargrove is survived by his wife, singer and producer Aida Brandes; a daughter from a previous relationship, Kamala Hargrove; his mother, Jacklyn Hargrove; and his younger brother, Brian Hargrove.