Winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition, Chicago-born trumpeter Marquis Hill has, in a comparatively short time, established his well-deserved reputation as a leading figure among today’s crop of adventurous young jazz musicians. A singular artist with a warm, soul-drenched sound and an advanced command of composition, the 29-year-old Hill accepted the prestigious Monk honor as an acknowledgment of a major career already in progress rather than the first spark from a neophyte, with four albums as a leader already under his belt, and a distinctive ensemble approach firmly established.
The trumpeter applied the foundations he built with mentors Willie Pickens and Bobby Broom to sideman work with the likes of Benny Golson, Steve Turre, Joe Lovano, and Ron Carter, and is paying it forward as an educator, teaching at University of Illinois at Chicago and NIU Summer Jazz Camp. His longstanding quintet, dubbed the Blacktet, is a tightly wound machine that utilizes the spacious sonority of Joel Ross’ vibraphone as chordal center, eschewing the piano and giving Hill’s angular melodies and razor-sharp ensemble passages a spellbinding clarity. The Blacktet performs new work and music from their Concord Records debut, The Way We Play.