Roy Hargrove performs live at the Village Vanguard. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

toggle caption John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Roy Hargrove performs live at the Village Vanguard.

John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com

Live At The Village Vanguard

Roy Hargrove QuintetWBGO

Roy Hargrove Quintet in Concert at the Village Vanguard

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/136617130/136681252" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

There's no one standard model of jazz, but there are standards. There's a standard repertoire, for sure; also, standard conventions of instrumentation, group interaction, overall "sound." Trumpeter Roy Hargrove, when he commits to playing straight-ahead jazz, leads a quintet that is very comfortable with those standards. If you're new to jazz, it would seem distantly familiar, like how you might imagine jazz to be. If you aren't new to jazz, you might just find it proves how satisfying those standards remain, and how much room for self-expression is in them.

It's what's made Roy Hargrove a star in the jazz world, and what allows the Roy Hargrove quintet to play two straight weeks at the world-famous Village Vanguard in New York City. WBGO and NPR Music will present a live on-air broadcast and live video webcast of the band's early performance on Wednesday, May 25.

Hargrove's current band is an argument for timelessness; for the idea that the elegance and sophistication of classic post-bebop jazz remains appealing today. On his latest quintet album, 2008's Earfood, it's argued well because Hargrove — aside from being a commanding trumpet player, fast or slow — has focused on writing and picking catchy songs. Not just frameworks for improvisations, but songs: tuneful, simple, grooving songs.

At the Vanguard, he started the set off with a number of tunes by mentors — Cedar Walton, Walter Booker, John Hicks, so forth — and standards. (He even took a vocal turn on "Never Let Me Go.") The second half brought more original compositions, including the funky signature "Strasbourg/St. Denis." Hargrove stood aside one peer, alto saxophonist Justin Robinson, and in front of a younger rhythm section — his working band.

Roy Hargrove is 41 now, decades after his talent was "discovered" at a Dallas, Texas, arts magnet high school by Wynton Marsalis. He became something of a teenage prodigy, touring Europe and Japan before age 17 and playing with jazz legends before he could legally drink. Hargrove's early studio efforts focused on his jazz playing — since then, he's also explored Afro-Cuban music with an ensemble called Crisol and started a funk and soul fusion band called the RH Factor. (He's also been tapped to play behind Erykah Badu, Common and D'Angelo as a sideman.)

But straight-ahead jazz is a core value for Hargrove, the swinging-and-having-fun kind. That sense of tradition, honored gracefully, was on display when his quintet performed at the Village Vanguard — a place he has regularly appeared since the early '90s.

Set List
  • "The Lamp Is Low" (de Rose/Shefter)
  • "Hindsight" (Cedar Walton)
  • "After The Morning" (John Hicks)
  • "Book's Bossa" (Walter Booker)
  • "Mr. AT" (Walter Bolden)
  • "Rouge" (Hargrove)
  • "Never Let Me Go" (Livingston/Evans)
  • "Like That" (Hargrove)
  • "Strasbourg/St. Denis" (Hargrove)
  • "Bring It On Home To Me" (Sam Cooke)
Personnel
  • Roy Hargrove, trumpet/vocals
  • Justin Robinson, alto saxophone
  • Sullivan Fortner, piano
  • Ameen Saleem, bass
  • Montez Coleman, drums
Credits
  • Josh Jackson, producer and host
  • David Tallacksen, mix engineer
  • Michael Downes, assistant
  • Michael McGoff, assistant
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Don Cheadle stars as Miles Davis in the film Miles Ahead. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

toggle caption Sony Pictures Classics

Jazz Night In America

Three Miles Ahead

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

On screen, ink, and stage with actor Don Cheadle, writer Quincy Troupe and trumpeter Keyon Harrold.

Three Miles Ahead

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491558852/491559806" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cecile McLorin Salvant and Sullivan Fortner. Mark Fitton/Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artists hide caption

toggle caption Mark Fitton/Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artists

Jazz Night In America

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Two rising stars of their instruments duet at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491556926/491558723" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Norah Jones. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS hide caption

toggle caption Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Norah Jones On Piano Jazz

The smoky-voiced singer reinvents standards like "The Nearness Of You" in a 2003 session.

Marian McPartland In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/491481080/491483313" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marty Napoleon. Wikimedia Commons hide caption

toggle caption Wikimedia Commons

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Marty Napoleon On Piano Jazz

Hear the pianist, who once played with Louis Armstrong's All Stars, duet with Marian McPartland.

Marty Napoleon In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/490624621/490631097" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

David Sánchez. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

David Sánchez On Piano Jazz

The cosmopolitan saxophonist and his rhythm section join Marian McPartland for a set of standards.

David Sanchez In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/489759939/489765697" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cover art to The Great Kai and J.J., 1960. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Jazz Night In America

The Eminence Of J.J. Johnson, And His Partnership With Kai Winding

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Trombonist Vincent Gardner takes on the music of his instrument's bebop pioneer.

The Eminence Of J.J. Johnson, And His Partnership With Kai Winding

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488851522/488851879" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marilyn Crispell. Claire Stefani/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Claire Stefani/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Marilyn Crispell On Piano Jazz

The pianist plays free jazz with an evocative and disciplined style.

Marilyn Crispell In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488725929/488823539" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Eric Reed. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Eric Reed On Piano Jazz

Hear the young pianist and composer give a solo performance of "Cedar's Blues" in a 1995 session.

Eric Reed In The Studio

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487919012/487933490" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jacky Terrasson. Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Philippe Levy-Stab/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

Back in 1995, the young pianist demonstrated extraordinary talent on standards.

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487065269/487071612" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top