Marquis Hill

Sat, Sep 21

Marquis Hill Cover

From his beginnings as one of Chicago’s most thrilling young trumpeters to his current status as an internationally renowned musician, composer, and bandleader, Marquis Hill has worked tirelessly to break down the barriers that divide musical genres. Contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Chicago house, and neo-soul—to Hill are all essential elements of his profound African-American creative heritage. “It all comes from the same tree,” he says. “They simply blossomed from different branches.” That mission to unite styles, complemented by Hill’s absolute instrument mastery, is a line connecting his many achievements. It can be heard on his latest album, Modern Flows Vol. II, with its seamless blend of jazz interplay, hip-hop-infused rhythms, and socially conscious spoken word. It’s integral to The Way We Play, his Concord Jazz debut in 2016, where Hill and his musicians reinvent jazz standards using their generation’s wide-ranging influences. It marks the four records Hill self-released before November 2014, when he won the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz competition and became a presence on the global scene virtually overnight. And it defines the revelatory live dates by Hill’s longtime working group, the Blacktet, which the Chicago Tribune called “a remarkably polished, immensely attractive ensemble.” For Hill, playing and listening without limits has long been an instinct. “It comes naturally; that’s how I hear the music,” he says. “I came up in a household where my mom played Motown, R&B, Isley Brothers, Barry White, Marvin Gaye. Then I received my first jazz record, by Lee Morgan, which was added to the collection. ... I truly believe the music is all the same.” Born in Chicago in 1987 and raised on the city’s culturally rich South Side, Hill began playing drums at age 4 before switching to trumpet in the 6th grade. He attended high school at Kenwood Academy, excelling in its revered jazz-performance program. He was mentored by Bobby Broom, Willie Pickens, Tito Carrillo, and other Chicago greats through the Ravinia Jazz Scholars program. Hill earned his bachelor’s in music education from Northern Illinois University and his master’s in jazz pedagogy from DePaul University. During college, he made gigs and sessions around Chicago, jamming with and absorbing wisdom from Fred Anderson, Ernest Dawkins, and Von Freeman. Even then, Hill was known as a stunningly gifted trumpeter with a soulful, highly textured tone. His sound is now somehow both deeply distinctive and a tour through jazz-trumpet history, evoking the high-drama stillness and space of Miles, the undeniable virtuosity of Clifford Brown and Freddie Hubbard, the groove-savvy phrasing of Lee Morgan and Donald Byrd, and much more. Well before Hill won the Monk prize—arguably the most important jazz competition in the world—his reputation for brilliance was firmly established in the Midwest as a member of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, an in-demand sideman, and a bandleader. He also developed into a precocious, determined young label owner and has released five acclaimed discs—New Gospel, Sounds of the City, The Poet, and Modern Flows Vols. I and II—through his Black Unlimited Music Group imprint. “Just having my personality, there’s nothing like being in control of what you produce and put out into the world,” he says. “It’s a great feeling.” A move to New York in 2014 helped him gain wider exposure and new opportunities—though he frequently returns to his hometown for gigs and projects—and in recent years, Hill has garnered an enviable spate of press. Previewing a Blacktet show, the New Yorker said, “His performances and recordings reveal a smart post-bop player who circumvents genre clichés by incorporating elements of hip-hop and contemporary R. & B.” Of The Way We Play, DownBeatwrote, “The groove-laden arrangements provide the perfect soundscape for Hill’s fluid improvisational style, which, with its glass-like lucidity, recalls the crisp elegance of hard-bop stalwart Donald Byrd.” 2016 Hill earned first place in the “Rising Star–Trumpet” category in that magazine’s storied Critics Poll. Throughout his journey, he has supported and guested with a who’s who of jazz that includes Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Boney James, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano, and Hill’s trailblazing Chicago peer Makaya McCraven. Latest Project New Gospel Revisited is the new album from the fearless and formidable American composer and trumpeter Marquis Hill. This time, a live recording that revisits and reinterprets his debut 2012 New Gospel album employs a band of super-heavyweight musicians, including Walter Smith III, Joel Ross, James Francies, Kendrick Scott, and Harish Raghavan. Marquis Hill’s rise over the last few years has been striking, and there’s no letting up. Since winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Composition award, he has demonstrated full command of his art and built a reputation for synthesizing what he describes as the essential elements of the Africa-American creative heritage, including contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, house, and neo-soul. Now, his sights are set even higher. New Gospel Revisited is an extraordinary live recording that reimagines his debut as a leader with a new band, a new focus, and a sharpened ear as a bandleader, composer, and performer. The set is breathtakingly good, with a band that sounds as inventive and creative as it reads on paper. “… New Gospel was my debut album and my first completed production. To revisit this music freshly, with a new band has been uniquely invigorating —and hugely rewarding.” Marquis Hill A $15 drink/food minimum is charged per person in the party, per set, if the total for beverages purchased by the party does not meet the minimum. Important Notices: If you do not check in by 15 minutes into the start of the set, we reserve the right to resale your seats with no refund. Refunds must be requested 24 hours before the start of the performance.