So the other day when I was visiting All About Jazz to check on jazz birthdays I noticed an interesting name in the showcase sidebar – Marquis Hill and his new album The Poet. Since I didn’t recognize the name I thought I’d take a little trip to MOG to check it out. MOG only had two out of Marquis’ three albums – New Gospel and Sounds of the City. I decided that I’d check out Sounds of the City first. It’s a great album at times sounding a little avant-garde and at other times it sounds like classic jazz. On the third track “The Wrath of the Lark” my ears perked up when I heard some great vibes! That sent me racing to see who the player was I found out the artist’s name is Justin “Justefan” Thomas. I continued my search and discovered that Justin has just released an EP titled The Prelude. I found that album on Spotify, gave it a listen and it’s certainly an EP that will join the other vibes music in my library. But now back to Marquis and his music. From Marquis’ website:
At age 26, Marquis Hill is already a well-known name on the Chicago Jazz Scene. After retrieving a Bachelor degree in Music Education/Jazz Studies, and studying privately at Northern Illinois University, he started performing heavily in Chicago. He has performed with artist such as: Dee Alexander, Tito Carrillo, Bobby Broom, Willie Pickens, Ron Perrillo, Victor Garcia, Benny Golson, Antonio Hart, Rodney Whitaker, Steve Turre , Ernest Dawkins, Maurice Brown, Corey Wilkes, Willerm Delisfort, Brian Lynch and many others In 2011 Marquis released his solo debut album, New Gospel, to critical acclaim. The project contained all original music performed by his group the Blacktet. In the spring of 2012, Marquis Hill received his Master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy from DePaul University. Shortly afterward, he recorded and released his sophomore album, Sounds of the City. Hill’s third album, The Poet, is scheduled for an October 2013 release.
The band that surrounds Marquis is called The Blacktet and includes: alto saxophonist Christopher McBride, vibraphonist Justin Thomas, pianist Josh Moshier, bassist Joshua Ramos, and drummer Makaya McCraven—with Juan Pastor adding his Latin percussion prowess on some tracks! Like many jazz artists, Marquis is a teacher at The University of Illinois at Chicago while maintaining a busy schedule of performances throughout the country. On October 27 of this year Marquis post the Take Five at All About Jazz providing answers to several questions including the following: I knew I wanted to be a musician when… I heard Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder in the 5th grade. The first Jazz album I bought was: Clifford Brown with Strings Desert Island picks: Marvin Gaye—Vunerable Roy Hargrove—Moment to Moment Nicholas Payton—Payton’s Place That’s see a trip to MOG is due to listen to Lee Morgan Sidewinder and the Hargrove and Payton albums. But for now let’s listen to….”The Wrath of the Lark” from Sounds of the City (You can read a fine review of the album here at Chicagojazz.com