MARQUIS HILL BLACKTET
If there was ever a one-song microcosm of a group’s approach within a set, it showed its face when trumpeter Hill’s crack outfit snuggled into Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” Michael King set a fully inviting mood with his opening excursion on acoustic piano: tender, cagey, adroit. It was a feature with lots of responsibility on its head. If it didn’t seduce wholly, the vibe for the rest of the tune might be lacking. But King was full of polish, offering an amalgam of textures that moved from somber to stately. When the full group transitioned in, it too had a hush. King turned to electric keys, Hill and saxophonist Braxton Cook cooed through the august melody, and there was a mild CTI spirit in the summer air. I grabbed my notebook and scribbled quickly: “first goosebumps of the fest.”
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