JT Track Premiere: Marquis Hill’s “Moon Rays”

Off Concord label debut, "The Way We Play," due out June 24

Marquis Hill image 0
Christopher Baliwas

Marquis Hill

In 2014, when trumpeter, composer and bandleader Marquis Hill won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, he only confirmed the taste and ability that jazz fans in his hometown of Chicago were already familiar with. “Hill won top honors and the Concord deal with the finesse of a born balladeer,” our Matt R. Lohr wrote in his review of the event. “His lush yet intricate solo on ‘If I Were a Bell’ took command of the melody without ever betraying its emotional intent.”

Other critical praise soon followed: “Marquis Hill has a brawny but mellow sound on the trumpet, and an evenness of attack across the breadth of his range. His articulation, precise but unlabored, calls to mind the precedent of Clifford Brown, while his bravura phrasing suggests an equal immersion in Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw,” JT columnist Nate Chinen wrote, going on to analyze and praise his writing: “Hill adheres to a pattern of stealth logic as a composer, apparently working under the premise that a tune works best when it has several gears whirring at once.”

Taking advantage of his Monk competition prize, Hill will release his debut for Concord Jazz, The Way We Play, on June 24. The album features Hill’s dynamic, powerful working band, the Blacktet: alto saxophonist Christopher McBride, vibraphonist Justin Thomas, drummer Makaya McCraven and bassist Joshua Ramos.

JazzTimes is proud to premiere “Moon Rays,” a cut off the new album.