Young enough to have grown up with hip-hop, yet old enough to have caught the last wave of the '80s "Young Lions" hype at the turn of the decade, trumpeter Roy Hargrove has matured into one of the best players in jazz, capable of evoking the giants of the past while forging his own path into the future.
A couple of years ago, Hargrove was part of the 50th anniversary re-creation of the famous Massey Hall concert in Toronto, taking the chair originally occupied by Dizzy Gillespie in an all-star ensemble of boppers. Around the same time, he also toured with Herbie Hancock's "Directions in Music" ensemble alongside Michael Brecker and Ron Carter, reinterpreting tunes famously performed by Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard. Only a true virtuoso could pull off such a feat; it's as if an actor had re-created Sir Laurence Olivier's work in Hamlet, then moved on to put a new spin on Marlon Brando's role in On the Waterfront.
As a leader, Hargrove has explored a variety of contexts over the last fifteen years, starting with his early hard-bop-influenced efforts (often in the company of altoist Antonio Hart); later recording an album of ballads and a Charlie Parker tribute; and forming Crisol, a group mixing Cuban percussionists and American jazz players. More recently, the trumpeter's RH Factor band has offered a sleek and powerful vision of a fusion of hip-hop, jazz and funk. Audacious yet mindful of the jazz tradition, Hargrove has the nerve to try just about anything -- and the skills to make it work.
The performance begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$45; call 314-533-2958 for more information.