062910 Roy Hargrove, Ottawa, ON

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Sometimes you just don’t know.

When a friend first played me a CD featuring Roy Hargrove I had no idea that I was about to become such a fan.  When I saw him perform live for the first time I couldn’t have known that his sass and confidence as he stood toe-to-toe with the likes of Herbie Hancock, John Pattatucci, and Michael Brecker would elevate him to such a level of respect in my eager fandom.  And I would have been pleased to know that I would have the pleasure of seeing him play several more times over the next few years.

But as I stood on the lawn of Confederation Park on June 29th, 2010 and watched Hargrove play a headlining set as part of the Ottawa Jazz Festival I couldn’t possibly have imagined that the young jazz genius two years my junior had already been on dialysis for more than a half a decade to help him deal with chronic kidney problems.  As he led his very own Big Band through a string of his compositions and laid down one remarkable soaring solo after another I had no inkling that this would be my last time seeing Roy Hargrove (1969-2018) play music.  I remember him looking so young!  And he wasn’t one of these jazz kids who tried to sound like an elder statesman; he always sounded so fresh, so unique.  So Roy Hargrove.

But like I say, sometimes you just don’t know.  Or more accurately, sometimes you succeed in hiding your consciousness from the inevitable truth of personal nonexistence and the existential threat of death, but in reality it’s just that you don’t know who is going to go first.  So you end up getting lulled into thinking this or that person will be around forever, which really just means: “longer than you will be”.

I suppose the only thing I know for sure is that it was a good concert and that I’m still here to tell you so.

I hope you have an amazing day today.

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