This weekend, The Jazz Gallery is thrilled to present a series of very special performances by the Roy Hargrove Big Band. Hosting Hargrove’s big band is an apropos way of celebrating the Gallery’s 21st birthday—not only is Hargrove one of the Gallery’s co-founders, but the original Gallery space at 290 Hudson Street in the West Village served as the big band’s first rehearsal space.
The group’s first performance live performance was at the 1995 Panasonic Village Jazz Festival in August 1995, and Hargrove continued to grow and tweak the project over the next several years. The Jazz Gallery became a proving ground of sorts for Hargrove and his big band, trying out new arrangements, cycling in new, young players (including trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, vocalist Roberta Gambarini, and pianists Gerald Clayton and Jon Batiste, just to name a few). In an interview with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hargrove explained the motivation for his mentoring approach with the band. “I go around to jam sessions a lot, sit in with cats,” says Hargrove. “I think that the new generation doesn’t have a lot of experience playing in sections and playing in big bands. So this provides younger guys with a sense of camaraderie that is not really evident anymore in jazz.”
In 2009, Hargrove and the big band released their debut album, Emergence (Emarcy), featuring a slate of varied takes on standards, as well as original compositions by several members of the band. The kind of collaborative atmosphere really comes through in the video from the 2009 Jazz a Vienne Festival below, especially in how all of the players dig into every single phrase.
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the ever-swinging Roy Hargrove Big Band live, at the venue where it all began.
The Roy Hargrove Big Band plays The Jazz Gallery on Friday, September 30th, and Saturday, October 1st, 2016. The band will be joined by special guest vocalist Roberta Gambarini. Sets are at 7:30 and 9:30 P.M. each night. $35 general admission ($25 for members), $40 reserved cabaret seating ($30 for members) for each set. Purchase tickets here.