Roy Hargrove Presents the RH Factor Hard Groove

Jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove has been showing up on a lot of hip-hop and soul-related projects recently as owners of recent Common, Erykah Badu and D’Angelo records can attest. Appropriately enough, all three repay the favour on his latest project. While Common sounds a little uninspired and lost with the pace of Hargrove’s band on "Common Free Style,” concerns about the other collaborations are soon quickly put to rest. The pace is positively pedestrian on the mystic incense-burner "I’ll Stay,” where D’Angelo takes lead vocals on the Funkadelic cover while Badu guests on the album’s standout track "Poetry.” Here things start off innocently enough with an in-form Q-Tip rhyming in his inimitable nasal tone and Me’Shell N’dgeocello on bass, but by the time Hargrove is done, it has blossomed into a beguiling sonic excursion that you wish would last longer. Similar experiences abound because Hargrove builds his well-honed chops on top of the sumptuous grooves. It doesn’t hurt that he coaxes fine vocal performances from Shelby Johnson and Anthony Hamilton amongst many others as well as his accomplished band members. Despite all the collaborations, Hargrove remains the focal point, coaxing and soothing on one hand, combative and frantic on the other, ultimately dictating the mood. With its heavy soul and funk influences, as jazz goes, this is very accessible. But it’s clearly Hargrove’s intention to widen beyond his usual audience and a record that has been on his horizon for sometime, so in this way it’s a project that has been smoothly and expertly realised. (Verve)