The royal touch
Kenny Mathieson talks to American trumpet prodigy Roy Hargrove
Trumpeter Roy Hargrove has emerged as arguably the most compelling of the current wave of new, young jazz horn players emerging in the US. He was spotted while still playing in his high school band by Wynton Marsalis, who was so impressed by the youngster’s facility that he gave him several very useful breaks, and Hargrove has gone on to suggest that he has the required stuffto justify that optimism.
Inevitably, he has been tagged with the neo-bop label which has affixed itselfto most of his contemporaries, and with good reason so far. His first three albums for BMG Novus (The Vibe is the latest and best) have revealed a precocious talent, but no real sense of breaking out from the harmonic constraints ofbop. More recently, however, Hargrove has been checking out the possibility of expanding his range, but rather than follow Wynton into early jazz, he has looked in the direction ofthe 60s avant~garde for new inspiration, prompted by the iconoclastic Lester Bowie.
‘Lester heard me play at a jazz festival in Italy, and afterwards he said to me that I sounded real good, but that I shouldn‘t play so inside the harmonies all the time. We talked about that, and I decided it was time to check out some of the people who
like to play a more out kind of music, l all the different aspects of the music,
like Ornette Coleman or Don Cherry.
‘I basically just realised that it is important to check out all the different areas ofthe music. not just one. You have to concentrate on one area when you get to it, before you move on to the next. but what I realised was the importance of knowing about the whole history of jazz, including the avant-garde period.
‘The bop thing is just another part of that process. It involves knowing a lot about harmony, and about the piano. I’m just trying to learn about
so that I won’t be put in just one category. People like to categorise you as a particular thing, but I don’t like that at all — I want to be able to do all these things.’
How this will translate itself in Hargrove’s music remains to be seen, but Scottish audiences are about to get their first chance to find out. The trumpeter will be touring with his regular working band, which includes fellow Novus label-mate Antonio Hart on saxophone (his new album, Don’t You Know I Care, has just come out), with Marc Cary on piano, Rodney Whitaker on bass, and Greg Hutchinson on drums.
‘A regular band has its ups and downs, like everything else, but I think it is a good thing for us to be out there playing together and experiencing road life together, and I think we will all benefit from that, and after playing together for a while the music gets to be really tight. There comes a time when I have to take control of some things, but I try to leave the cats free to express themselves. It’s not just me up there, after all, it's all five of us, and we have to be like one.’
Hargrove started on cornet at the age of nine, and is happy to confess to the charge of lyricism in his playing, acknowledging that ‘when I play I do take a vocal approach, and I like to play a lot of melodies. I like the trumpet because it’s an instrument that leads the band, you know, it stands right out there at the top. I always thought ofit as being the royal instrument — cats like Louis Armstrong started a whole legacy, not just for trumpet players, but for musicians on all instruments. You can hear a lot of saxophone players in that era who had a tone just like Pops.’
Roy Hargrove Quintet play at the Music Hall in Aberdeen on Wed 4, the City Hall in Glasgow on Thu 5 and the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh on Fri 6.
l Cream of the crop
Glasgow is visited by the cream at the Irish overthe coming lortnight when The Chieftains, Allan and Stockton’s Wing all return to play concerts. Edinburgh misses the lirst two bands but is compensated by two line Irish nights among the opening events at a new music venue, La Belle Angele. Organisers Open House Music have secured virtuoso uillean piper Liam O'Flynn, late of Planxty and soloist in The Brandan Voyage, tor a recital; and hot Dublin Band The Texas Kellys, sporting ex-Waterboy Steve Wickham on liddle.
Hip hop country jive and locomotive bluegrass-three vocalists and good-time music laid down on bass, drums and banjo, llddle, mandolin and guitars-that's the Kellys’ inlectlous sound. The venue’s got space to leap around, orthe curious can prop up the bar and lind out what sort oi outllt tiddler Steve plays with. Alter all, he's been keeping some high-powered company in the last lew years, touring with Mike Scott's raggle-taggle band,
v Music is delighted to bring The Texas Kellys to Scotland (he's enthusing
-: .. c. \l 1‘ , ..; I ‘ 1:" «
The Texas Kelly:
recording and playing live with U2, . cutting tracks with Bob Dylan and Dave 1 Stewart and collaborating and recording with Sinead O'Connor. Peter Outterworth at Open House
especially about a recent track, ‘Jealous Knile’, sung by drummer Paul Byrne) and equally enthusiastic about
‘We’ve been ages searching tor somewhere with this atmosphere. It's got a bar, there's lots oi space lor dancing and we can put out tables and
chairs. And it's central, up a little
vennel behind the 369 Gallery.’ Look out lor some really good, unusual bands. Gary Hall And The Stormlteepers are a tremendous country-rock band, whose “Garage
- Heart’ album was held by ‘Guardian'
critic Robin Oenselow to be one oi the
ten best of the 80s. And in early
November, OHM bring Brlttany's
jazz/folk Etienne Grandiean Trio. (Norman Chalmers)
Liam O'Flynn plays Sun 25, The Texas
Stonnlteepers on Fri 30. All dates at La Belle Angela.
. proved small consolation for the
7 the sake of it in late-night rock clubs;
One of the big audience hits at this year’s Glasgow Fleadh, Stockton’s Wing— who celebrate fifteen years together this month — emerged in the late 705 from traditional Irish music roots in Ennis, County Clare. Touring the folk festival circuit around Europe in the early years, they graduated to major city venues then top-act status in Canada, Australia and the USA. Forging a reputation as superb music-makers in the Chieftains genre, but armed with the youth to enter the realms of Celtic rock, they won street cred with hits like ‘Beautiful Affair’ and ‘Walk Away’, penned by vocalist Mike Hanrahan.
Stockton’s gigs have always drawn a mix of rock and traditional musicians, as well as diehard fans, because an atmosphere of celebratory crack is guaranteed at every outing, and as the New York Times phrased it: ‘As musicians, the band has virtuosity to spare.’
The end of the 803 saw Stockton’s touring constantly, sharing stages with such diverse talents as Michael Jackson and the late Sammy Davis Jr and appearing in Noel Pearson’s film The Field. But commercial success
musical confines of the rock scene. Says singer Hanrahan: ‘Eventually we got tired of playing songs just for
tired of fighting noise levels where the music was lost.’ Dropping the bass and drums, they
brought in a banjo/mandolin player ' and recorded The Crooked Rose,
which marked a return to their
‘We’re fifteen years agrowing, and we have matured with our music,‘
} says Hanrahan. ‘We’re doing
, contemporary songs and we’re
j writing more in the traditional vein, L but all modern tunes, which keeps
' the traditional side going. Ithink E that for Irish music to survive the
l acoustic roots. I
~ next generation, we have to leave 1 some tunes behind us as well. I think it's our duty as musicians.’ (Ces I
! Stockton ’3 Wing play The Queen ’s
i Kelly: on Tue 27 and Gary Hall And The ! Hall, Edinburgh on Wed 4, Henry
i Wood Hall, Glasgow on Fri 6 and
Cumbernauld Theatre on Sat 7.
The List 23 October— 5 November 1992 27