One album just wasn’t enough. NOTHING SERIOUS (Verve), the first of two simultaneous releases from trumpeter Roy Hargrove, is his finest straight-up jazz outing in years. Shedding the strained concepts of his recent recordings (strings, Cuban music), Hargrove and his no-star quintet lay down occasionally ferocious hard bop. He contributes only three originals, yet his playing brims with confidence and vigor, reminding us why we were so excited about this Dallasite in the first place. Indulging Hargrove’s funky alter ego, DISTRACTIONS (Verve) is the second neosoul session from his group The RH Factor. Taking a page from the P-Funk playbook, the album is overloaded with musicians (including Texan David “Fathead” Newman) churning out old-school grooves. There’s a nice retro late-night vibe, but it plays out in a style much too surgically neat to tear the roof off the sucka.
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