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The story of jazz great Roy Hargrove is one of 4 must-sees at the Dallas International Film Festival

Roy Hargrove
Claude Paris/AP
In this July 26, 2018 photo, American jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove performs at the Five Continents Jazz festival, in Marseille, southern France. The Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter has died at age 49. Manager Larry Clothier says in a statement that Hargrove died in New York on Friday, Nov. 2, from cardiac arrest stemming from a longtime fight with kidney disease. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

A new documentary playing at the Dallas International Film Festival explores the Booker T. Washington alum's contribution to jazz and his place among the all-time greats.

Roy Hargrove began his musical journey in Dallas – a journey that would take him to the biggest jazz stages around the world. A new documentary, simply titled “Hargrove,” looks at the trumpter’s life. It plays Sunday at 4 p.m. at Hargrove’s old stomping ground – Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. And ahead of the screening, director Eliane Henri talks about telling the story of not only an all-time great, but one of her closest friends:

Eliane Henri on…

Why Hargrove was many other musicians’ favorite musician:

Any musician that he ever recorded with or played with felt inspired by him and felt like he elevated their artistry.

His formative years at Booker T. Washington:

You hear time and time again when you interview these musicians that Roy was already kind of like this fully formed musician in high school. When Wynton [Marsalis] went there, you know, in the '80s, maybe ‘87, ’88, Wynton was there performing at Caravan of Dreams [in Fort Worth] with his band, and he went over to the high school to do the clinic. And Roy just knocked him off of his feet. He went and invited Roy to come play on his set there, and the rest is history. Roy was invited from that point, you know, to go on his first summer tour to Europe. And, you know, it was just off to the races.

His dedication to mentoring young jazz musicians:

He would hold court at Smalls, and you heard Christian McBride and Antonio Hart talking about how even though he didn't work at a university, he was one of the best educators the music ever saw. And Smalls was incredible. There would be students from Julliard there, but then there would also be like the homeless musician who only owns his trombone. You know, it would be such a cross-section of New York that would be in that room. And Roy would give equal attention and respect and nurturing and time to all of them.

Hargrove allowing Henri to follow him on his 2018 European tour because he felt he might be dying from the kidney problems that plagued him for much of his adult life:

I mean, it's weird, because like when I watch the film now, it seems so almost obvious. It seems like we both knew, but at the time we didn't. It was a real surprise to me. When Roy passed away, I think it's because those of us in Roy's inner circle, he had gotten sick and been in the hospital and then bounced back so many times that we just thought, you know, he'll be okay. He'll bounce back again. But he didn't this time.

Hargrove’s place alongside Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie on the list of all-time great jazz trumpet players:

I think in terms of music history and Black music history, you know, if you're a true music connoisseur or Black music historian, you cannot leave Roy Hargrove out of the conversation.


JUNETEENTH: FAITH & FREEDOMRasool Berry, a pastor based in Brooklyn, travels to Texas to explore connections between Christianity and slavery – and to demonstrate how our newest national holiday is the result of Black people’s faithful persistence and perseverance. The documentary is directed by Ya’Ke Smith, a former UT-Arlington film professor who now teaches at UT-Austin. Friday at 5 p.m. and Monday at 1 p.m.

The Banshees of Inisherin – The latest from Irish playwright and director Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “In Bruges”) received raves at this year’s Venice Film Festival, scoring a best screenplay award for McDonagh and best actor win for Colin Farrell. Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play lifelong pals whose friendship is abruptly severed, throwing each of their lives into disarray. Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

CALL JANE – Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Wunmi Mosaku and Kate Mara star in this story of a married woman seeking an abortion during a time when the procedure is illegal in America. The film debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival and has been on many radars following this summer’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision. Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Plan your complete DIFF viewing schedule here.

Stephen Becker is senior producer of the Think show , which airs on more than 25 stations across Texas and beyond. Prior to joining the Think team in 2013, as part of the Art&Seek team, Stephen produced radio and digital stories and hosted "The Big Screen" — a weekly radio segment about North Texas film — with Chris Vognar. His 2011 story about the history of eight-track tapes was featured nationally on NPR's All Things Considered. His works has been recognized with numerous state and national awards.