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One of the finest trumpeters in jazz today, Marquis Hill is also a composer and bandleader whose comprehensive vision highlights the unity and continuity within the musical heritage of African Americans. On acclaimed albums like his latest, Modern Flows Vol. II, and his 2016 breakout project, The Way We Play, Hill and his working band, the Blacktet, use their next-level musicianship and deeply interactive dynamic to break down the barriers separating bop, hip-hop, R&B, and electronic music.
Born in Chicago in 1987 and raised on the city’s South Side, Hill absorbed the jazz tradition both formally—he holds a bachelor’s degree in music education as well as a master’s degree in jazz pedagogy—and informally, gaining knowledge from his elders on gigs and at jam sessions. By the time he won the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, his reputation for fluid virtuosity was firmly established in the Midwest—as a member of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, an in-demand sideman, and a leader with several buzz-worthy self-released discs to his credit. Since that watershed victory, Hill has garnered glowing coverage in outlets like the New Yorker, the New York Times, JazzTimes, NPR Music, and DownBeat, where he topped the Rising Star–Trumpet category in the 2016 Critics Poll. As he’s maintained a nonstop touring schedule with the Blacktet, he’s also supported and guested with a who’s who list of jazz musicians, includes Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Boney James, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano, and Hill’s trailblazing Chicago peer Makaya McCraven.
"As individuals, we each have a special perspective, budding voice, and purpose. It's not for me to force my mindset or thought process on students, but to truly help—that is—to distinctly assist my charges so that each may subtly search out that "vision-voice" emerging from within (and beyond) and finally move out to, and into, the people.
I've been incredibly fortunate to have had some very generous masters as mentors; I’ve been blessed, too, to spend the last 15-plus years honing my craft—studying with care, sharing the stage with a number of visionary sensibilities, and actively exchanging concepts with some of the best musician-educators—ever.
The knowledge and values I've "inherited" during this time have surely sculpted aspects of my soul and aesthetic; they’ve ushered me into meaningful art, commerce, and human-scale learning (as I like to call authentic, authentically mutual lifelong learning).
The mentor-musician and educator I’ve become today is deeply marked by these gifts. A wisdom enlivens the music. It is a richly natural core of my creating and teaching that strategically overflows to my engaged students—each of whom I have the real privilege to guide for a time.
Words are heavily taxed to represent how grateful I am that my adventure in beauty and gratitude periodically enfolds that of so many gifted, hard-working lifelong learners."