Roy Hargrove / Roy Hargrove With Strings

Moment to Moment

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Following in the well-trod footsteps of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, and Wynton Marsalis, among others, Roy Hargrove has his day with strings, purveying moody, lovelorn ballads at glacial tempos. At first, one's hopes are raised that this could turn out to be one of the best attempts in this field. The leadoff track "You Go to My Head" is gorgeous; Hargrove plays soulfully and inwardly, and pianist Larry Willis's arrangement is emotionally satisfying without being cloying. However, the disc continues on and on in this fashion, one tune seeming to blend into another, one arrangement sounding like the next (besides Willis, who contributes five charts, Gil Goldstein does three others, and Cedar Walton chips in two). Even Hargrove tries his own hand at string arranging on his composition "Natural Wonders"; the results are noticeably less sophisticated and not as richly-harmonized as the others on the disc. Sherman Irby acts as a capable foil on alto sax, and bassist Gerald Cannon and drummer Willie Jones III have little else to do but keep their gently booming and rustling sounds moving. Whether on flugelhorn or trumpet, Hargrove's undoubted sincerity and musicality go only a limited distance over the 68-minute span of the CD before simply repeating themselves out. CDs like this make one wish that the 10" LP was back; that time frame was just long enough for some of jazz's best string albums of the past.

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