Soulquarians Member, Trumpeter Roy Hargrove Passes Away At 49

Two-time Grammy Award-winning Jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove has passed away at the age of 49 years old. He suffered a fatal heart attack Friday night (November 2) in New York City after being admitted to a hospital for kidney failure. NPR confirmed the news with Hargrove’s manager, Larry Clothier.

Although Hargrove, a pupil of Wynton Marsalis, was rooted in Jazz and released two handfuls of solo albums between 1994 and 2009, he was instrumental to Hip-Hop. A member of the Soulquarians, the Waco, Texas native worked extensively on albums including Common’s Like Water For Chocolate, D’Angelo’s Voodoo, and Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun. His horn was featured on multiple tracks. All three of those 2000 releases were birthed out of a series of overlapping sessions. Later, in his own career, Roy fused Jazz with Funk, R&B, and Hip-Hop.

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In the years that followed, Hargrove contributed to other Badu and D’Angelo albums, as well as releases by John Mayer and Angelique Kidjo.

Questlove remembered his collaborator respectfully online:


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The Great Roy Hargrove. He is literally the one man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music. To watch him harmonize with himself stacking nine horn lines on mamouth 10 mins songs RARELY rewinding to figure out what he did. Or not even contemplating what the harmony was (this is up there with Jay Z never writes his rhymes territory) —-like you can hear an incomplete Dangelo song once—-like an 11 min song—-and then in 20 secs you know the EXACT SPOT ON line to bob in and weave out?!!!! I know I’ve spoken in every aspect of Soulquarian era recording techniques but even I can’t properly document how crucial and spot on Roy was with his craft man. We NEVER gave him instructions: just played the song and watched him go —-like “come back in 45 mins I’ll have something” matter of fact now that I think of it —-I was so amped to put handclaps on @Common’s #ColdBlooded @JamesPoyser and i didn’t even take proper time out to approve what he worked on, it was like I already knew. So when you hear us SCREAMING/laughing at the 1:51 mark (me/com/d/rahzel/james) that’s us MIND BLOWN at another #Game6 esque performance from Roy. And all that stuff towards the end? We just reacting in real time to greatness. Such a key component. And a beautiful cat man. Love to the immortal timeless genius that will forever be Roy Hargrove y’all. #RoyHargroveRip

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The horn player formed The RH Factor, a super-group including The Roots/Soulquarians’ James Poyser, sample source Bernard Wright, bassist Pino Palladino, and others. They released three albums between 2003 and 2006.

Hargrove recently worked on D’Angelo’s Black Messiah album.