For years, Roy Hargrove has dropped hints that someday he'd like to do a "crossover jazz" recording.
For years, Roy Hargrove has dropped hints that someday he'd like to do a "crossover jazz" recording. Of course, since crossover is a dirty word in jazz, Hargrove usually described his ambition as a new fusion project or used some other sort of euphemism. Meanwhile, Hargrove, one of the leading young trumpeters, fortified his pop credentials by guesting on recordings by such top hip-hop acts as Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Q-Tip, and Common, all of whom return the favor on Hard Groove. "Common Free Style" features the rapper flowing over a walking jazz beat. The George Clinton dirge "I'll Stay" is highlighted by D'Angelo's organ and vocals. Badu, Q-Tip, and Hargrove deftly share the frontline on "Poetry." Other impressive contributors include Me'shell Ndegéocello, Steve Coleman, Karl Denson, and Renee Neufville. The instrumental tracks recall the best work of the Crusaders. It's nothing new, but there's nothing wrong with that.—MJ