Trumpeter Roy Hargrove issued two albums at the same time in 2006: this one with electric instruments and Nothing Serious, an all-acoustic post-bop-oriented date. Kudos are owed to Verve for standing behind him so supportively in this day and age of safe, bland, and unimaginative "traditional" records. Distractions, like Hard Groove in 2003, is a neo-soul-jazz date with a healthy dose of funk and fusion tossed into the mix. Hargrove's Hard Groove was the first time Hargrove left his bop orientation as a leader, and while that record had killer moments and loads of special guests -- including D'Angelo, Common, Erykah Badu, Karl Denson, Steve Coleman, Q-Tip, Me'Shell NdegéOcello, and Cornell Dupree to name a few, this date is recorded with his own band, with a return appearance by D'Angelo on "Bull***t" and the great saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman playing on about half the set. The returning alumni from the Hard Groove band are Renee Neufville, who sings and plays a killer Wurlitzer; Bobby Sparks on keyboards (from piano to Moog to Rhodes); saxophonist Keith Anderson; and drummer Willie Jones III. There is a much more urban soul feel to this date, and the grooves themselves are tougher. On the opener, "Distractions," which is a recurring theme on the disc, the horns and guitar are knotty -- they touch on Miles, but they don't drift. The sound is tight, edgy. Straight-up urban soul gets the nod on a few cuts here, most notably "Crazy Race," the smooth funk of "Holdin' On," and "On the One," all tracks featuring Neufville on vocals. "Family" is an impressionistic jazz-soul ballad. "Kansas City Funk" and "A Place" are hardcore funk (the latter in the manner of P-Funk and the Ohio Players), and it's wonderful to hear Newman and Anderson along with Hargrove filling in the deep grooves. "Bull***t" is a blip-hop track. D'Angelo adds texture and rhythm (he produced the song), and this may be the album's only throwaway, as it goes nowhere. It's also the only tune here that doesn't feel "song"-directed. It lacks lyricism, and goes for a Miles On the Corner vibe but never gets there. Still, that's a small complaint in lieu of this deeply gratifying, fun, and in-the-pocket album. It's perfect for a steamy summertime.
Performance CreditsRH Factor Primary Artist
Roy Hargrove Trumpet,Flugelhorn,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Soloist,Group Member
Charles McCampbell Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Clavinet,Hand Clapping,fender rhodes,Group Member
Renee Neufville Keyboards,Vocals,Hand Clapping,Wurlitzer,Group Member
David "Fathead" Newman Flute,Saxophone,Hand Clapping,Soloist,Guest Appearance
Reggie Washington Bass,Hand Clapping,Group Member
Bobby Sparks Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Clavinet,Moog Synthesizer,Hand Clapping,fender rhodes,Soloist,Group Member
Todd Parsnow Guitar,Hand Clapping,Group Member
Lenny Stallworth Bass,Hand Clapping,Group Member
Willie Jones Drums,Hand Clapping,Group Member
Technical CreditsRoy Hargrove Composer,Producer,Horn Arrangements
Russell Elevado Producer,Engineer
Renee Neufville Composer
Hollis King Art Direction
Tony Rambo Engineer
Dahlia Ambach Caplin Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Distractions based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This a highly unexpected release from Roy Hargrove. I've never heard him so free in a style that I believe even the hip-hop generation would love. A much welcomed treasure in his line-up.