On Earfood, the artist is Roy Hargrove, a trumpeter/composer/bandleader who first hit the national spotlight in 1988 with the trumpeter's first album with the Art Blakey Septet, A Message from the Jazz Side. That's when he began a career of steady growth, wide-ranging in scope (both instrumental and as a band leader) and variously experimental, with a strong commitment to melody and lyrics. He has made one album (Pulse) and two EPs with his own quintet, which he now leads, and with which he has recorded and performed his two albums in its entirety. The band is the most successful and well-favored of Hargrove's combos, with the saxophonist Justin Robinson and pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Danton Bolder and drummer Montez Coleman on boards (Bolder was previously Hargrove's bassist).
The quartet, which has played two or three weeks at the celebrated Village Vanguard in New York, is rolling out a studio recording of its live repertoire, and the result is Earfood. There are five vocal tunes on the album, and a quartet of six instrumentals, which alternates between lush, multi-layered ballads and sprightly, swinging uptempo pieces, with some of the latter worthy of Hargrove's earliest, trumpet-centric Art Blakey Septet days. The record features a commercial-sounding, full-blown contemporary jazz sound, thanks to the excellent arrangements and musicianship, but Hargrove's trumpet just keeps getting more and more prominent, as do his lyrics. He has become a very active vocalist, too, as the album illustrates. He sometimes plays the role of a word-meister, but a more fitting term is pre-enuncer, for he often holds the listener's interest by setting words to music. It's musical theater -- and the plot is always the same, the only variable being the music.
Hargrove's EarFood: Live at the Village Vanguard was released in 2008. This recording was captured during a two-week residency at the world famous Village Vanguard Club in New York City, featuring Hargrove's quintet with saxophonist Justin Robinson and pianist Gerald Clayton.
Earfood is a musical combination of contemporary jazz and soul, and Hargrove's latest album, like its predecessors, contains several traditional jazz and popular tunes as well as some original material. Like his previous release, this CD features a well rounded, exciting and excellent live band.
The album is known as Earfood and it was produced by saxophonist Roy Hargrove, and released in the United States on the DMP label. The album was recorded at the historic Village Vanguard in New York City, New York in June of 2004, and was released on the DMP label in the USA on June 21, 2007. Earfood features a quintet led by trumpeter Roy Hargrove. It also features the talents of pianist Gerald Clayton, alto saxophonist Justin Robinson, bassist Danton Bolder and drummer Montez Coleman.
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