Roy Hargrove Quintet Nails Strasbourg Saint Denis

Roy HargroveRoy Hargrove has long been a favorite trumpeter of mine, ever since he did the most excellent ’95 album Parker’s Mood, with Christian McBride on bass and Stephen Scott on piano. Here he’s playing his tune, Strasbourg Saint Denis with his quintet (roy hargrove – tp; justin robinson – as; gerald clayton – p; danton boller – b; montez coleman – dr).

What drew me in first was the interesting quality Gerald Clayton gets out of the piano by using his hand to dampen the strings: sounds more nuanced and responsive than using the pedal. When Hargrove and Robinson entered with the melody, they were so locked in with their intonation, articulation, and rhythmic cohesion, I was hooked. Nice interplay between the alto and trumpet, too.

Worth a listen and a look. Some great close-ups of Hargrove. Check out the details of his playing: how relaxed he is, his grip, what his chops (embouchure) look like, how he breathes, and his fingering choices. Everything, really.

Legendary Jazz Trumpeter Clark Terry, plays al...
Legendary Jazz Trumpeter         Clark Terry

When the phonograph allowed the abstract sound of music to be preserved and time-shifted, it was a huge advance in music learning, because with an example to emulate, one you could repeat over and over again, musicians could study and grow in ability by leaps and bounds. We’re now experiencing a similar revolution in the ability to easily see and hear time-shifted performances. Were are imitating creatures. It’s how we learn, and it’s how our brain is wired. To play like that, Clark Terry said you’ve got to: Imitate, assimilate, innovate.

Take advantage of the vid. Learn the melody by ear. Then check out the changes and learn a favorite lick or two from a solo. Here are the chord changes. Try to play as relaxed as Hargrove is. I haven’t tried this tune yet but will give it a go during practice later today, but according to what I see of Hargrove’s fingerings, this is in the trumpeter’s key, not concert pitch.

Bbmin7  C-7 | DbMaj7 | Bbmin7  Cmin7 | DbMaj7  Fmin | Bbmin7  Cmin7 | DbMaj7  Eb7 | AbMaj9 | F7(b9) |

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