A few people asked me to write about Roy Hargrove. Almost immediately after his death. It is difficult to write about another person even if I’ve known him for a long long time. I was also in deep shock that I was so shocked at his passing. I always kind of thought that he’d outlive everyone despite the serious illness. I couldn’t believe that I can’t argue with him anymore nor will never get to forget about the fight after hearing him play one note. I was stunned. I cried so hard at the news that I had to catch my breath. It was a bodyblow I was not expecting.
A lot of people already have written about Roy's music in online media. For about a week, Roy was everywhere every time I opened my computer: About the conversations people had with Roy; Brief yet immensely memorable interactions; Notes that he played. I thought to myself, wow, Roy was loved by many but then the next moment I had this feeling, like I just realized I didn’t button my shirt correctly. Roy didn’t really have a friend and he was always lonesome.
Roy was a rare being who can exist in the moment, truly. And that was the only way he knew how. There was no lie in the moment. Roy only said what he really thought, and he only did what he wanted to do. He was very loyal to himself. His focus and ability to live in the moment made him an incredible artist. When Roy put his mouth to the trumpet, the air changed; the clubs and the concert halls swelled. My heart beat a little faster and I was all smiles. It’s hard to live like that, though, off the stage. Roy was not good at life and terrible at regular human stuff. There was nothing romantic about that. Many people were drawn to him after seeing/hearing him play and wanted more from him, on and off stage: however, Roy could only deal with here and now and that is very difficult for rest of us. Roy did not have much use for the past nor the future. He dealt with what he thought then and what he felt then. That was what he can tolerate. I think he tried to adjust to how we do things but he ended up hurting others.
There are no other artists who taught us to love jazz and music as much as Roy did. Roy’s performance inspired smiles, bittersweet sighs, and undeniable exhilaration. Energy emitted from Roy was really full of allure and made us truly joyous. We felt so fortunate to be here to listen to him. Working with Roy was not easy, lol, and it always caused some mixture of frustration, worries, and, irritation. But he made up for it and some once he started to play. I forgot all about the bad stuff and somehow I remembered only the good part: music.
Roy’s sudden absence made me realize that he was one of natural elements. Roy had been the royalty of this music for almost three decades and we became accustomed to his face, like we are with Sun and air: we appreciate them and yet we take them for granted. Roy, who brought a lot of joy to us did not ask for anything in return except that he would continue to play. His joy was that we were there to listen and receive his offerings. Sun never asks us of anything and we go about our lives without thinking about it for the most part but it really is a problem if it disappears. The hole that Roy left is so tremendous and staggering. It is not exaggeration when I say that I feel at a loss and I wonder which way I should go. It also pisses me off that he left us so abruptly. But I think we were fortunate that we could share even one moment with Roy in present tense. I have a feeling that he might laugh away the sentiment; Roy lived honestly not even stacking one moment to another. I just wish I could see his silly smile, once again.