First Listen: A beautiful Roy Hargrove tribute from Renee Neufville

(January 13, 2020) Renee Neufville was a part of a duet that helped to craft the sound of 1990s era hip-hop soul. Along with her Temple University classmate, Jean Norris (now Jean Baylor), Neufville formed the R&B group Zhane. That duo added several memorable tunes to the 1990s musical canon, including “Hey Mr. D.J.” and “Groove Thang.”

Eventually they decided to pursue separate musical paths, and while Neufville and Baylor decided to do their own groove things, their careers evolved in similar ways. Baylor and her husband, former Yellowjackets drummer Marcus Baylor, teamed to start The Baylor Project, a group that works in a variety of genres but is firmly rooted in jazz. Neufville worked for many years with the late, great trumpeter Roy Hargrove, most notably with his fusion band the RH Factor.

(January 13, 2020) Renee Neufville was a part of a duet that helped to craft the sound of 1990s era hip-hop soul. Along with her Temple University classmate, Jean Norris (now Jean Baylor), Neufville formed the R&B group Zhane. That duo added several memorable tunes to the 1990s musical canon, including “Hey Mr. D.J.” and “Groove Thang.”

Eventually they decided to pursue separate musical paths, and while Neufville and Baylor decided to do their own groove things, their careers evolved in similar ways. Baylor and her husband, former Yellowjackets drummer Marcus Baylor, teamed to start The Baylor Project, a group that works in a variety of genres but is firmly rooted in jazz. Neufville worked for many years with the late, great trumpeter Roy Hargrove, most notably with his fusion band the RH Factor.

Hargrove was more than a highly talented trumpeter; he was regarded as one of the young generation of jazz musicians who revitalized the art form in the 1980s and 90s. He was an educator and activist who worked to bridge genres and generations. Hargrove worked with everybody from Common and Erykah Badu to Shirley Horn and Stanley Turrentine. While Hargrove embraced R&B and hip-hop, he maintained his deep respect for the classic jazz styles such as hard bop, which brought him to the attention of Wynton Marsalis when Hargrove was a high school student in the 1980s.

Hargrove fronted a straight-ahead jazz group called the Roy Hargrove Quartet and the RH Factor, a jazz, hip-hop and R&B fusion band, and it is in this group that Neufville worked with the trumpeter. Hardgroove, that band’s debut album featured musicians who a who’s who in the R&B, jazz and hip-hop world, including Badu, Jon Batiste, Robert Glasper and DeAngelo, meaning that Hargrove’s influence and legacy remains with us through their music.

Neufville honors her friend and mentor with a beautiful ballad title “Something to Believe.” The song finds Neufville using lyrics to express her sadness at Hargrove’s passing and her gratitude for what he did he help her and other grow as people and artists. They say that each person lives their eulogy, and “Something to Believe” is proof that Hargrove’s too short life was well lived indeed. Check the video out here.

By Howard Dukes

Renee Neufville - "Something to Believe (for Roy)"
 
 

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