Always In The Moment—Remembering Roy Hargrove (1969-2018)
Roy Hargrove (1969-2018) was always only in the moment, hard and sincerely. In that moment, he meant everything he did; he meant every word he said; he felt everything he felt. But it is hard to go through life in that way when everyone else around him wanted more than that moment.
Roy was a guardian of being.
Just like flowers, trees, winds, or a puppy. He said, “The Universe is moving right on time with us. So move on.” He was always in the moment. All he dealt with was the here and now.
It sounds wonderful, but it is hard to go through life in that way when everyone else around him wanted more than that moment. People wanted friendship, association, love, a relationship—hoping for a bit of crumbs in any shape or form—which created the need for past and future, for remembering and planning. Roy was not that person. He was always only in the moment, hard and sincerely. In that moment, he meant everything he did; he meant every word he said; he felt everything he felt. There was no lie or deception in that. But because the rest of us don’t know how to deal with that trueness of being, he had to lie and deceive and manipulate, so that he could somewhat sustain a facade of being a human and move through this world in flesh.
Roy’s ability to be completely present made him an incredible artist. This is what made him shine. This singularity of focus lifted many concert halls and clubs, and we felt our hearts swell with joy and happiness. We were so glad to BE with him. There is such truth in that feeling and the trouble is that the rest of us don’t know how to leave it where it belongs. We all wanted continuity and development and building-up outside of that moment. And that created all kinds of messes. Those of us who were lucky enough to share that space with Roy know how addictive that feeling is and we also knew, deep down, it could not be forced. It was a gift and it was a lesson—for us to remember how to be, for us to know what it feels like to be one with the universe, for us to learn how to carry that being-ness into our lives.
I am struggling in his passing, knowing that I will no longer experience that joy with Roy. The realization that his horn will never again vibrate my eardrums is tanking me into a hole that knows no depth. I know I sound dramatic. But in all of my life, I can’t remember too many experiences that made me love music so much and made me feel so lucky to be alive right at that moment. If I truly take the lesson Roy left us with, I would cherish the memory while not letting the memory slow down my steps. As Roy said, “The Universe is moving right on time with us. So move on. The Universe is moving right in line with us. So move on.” Yes, Roy was what Eckhart Tolle called a “Guardian of Being”—reminding us of simple joy, reminding us to be here, right now.
on love #5
i wish to love you
the way i love the sun
with casual disregard
totally taking it for granted
with blind faith
that it will always be.
I wrote this piece a long time ago, while thinking of Roy. I think I wrote this because I felt that he is just like the air we breathe, and not quite a human being like rest of us.
We were so lucky to have had Roy Hargrove amongst us, with all that good, bad, and ugly. A friend said that the meaning of life is to create meaning for it and to give meaning to it. Roy sure did that and then some. I’m just so mad at you for leaving us so soon. I get it, but I am still mad. But yes, the Universe and you are moving right on time with us, so I will move on.
Rio Sakairi is the Artistic Director and the Director of Programming at The Jazz Gallery.