The 61st Annual EIU Jazz Festival will be held on February 7 and 8, 2020. The festival will open on Friday, February 7, with a concert featuring the EIU Jazz Ensemble and guest performer, Marquis Hill.
Information for Directors - please complete all three forms below by Friday, January 10, 2020
From his beginnings as one of Chicago’s most thrilling young trumpeters, to his current status as an internationally renowned musician, composer and bandleader, Marquis Hill has worked tirelessly to break down the barriers that divide musical genres. Contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Chicago house, neo-soul—to Hill, they’re all essential elements of the profound African-American creative heritage he’s a part of. “It all comes from the same tree,” he says. “They simply blossomed from different branches.”
Born in Chicago in 1987 and raised on the city’s culturally rich South Side, Hill began playing drums at age 4, before switching to trumpet in the 6th grade. He attended high school at Kenwood Academy, excelling in its revered jazz-performance program, and was mentored by Bobby Broom, Willie Pickens, Tito Carrillo and other Chicago greats through the Ravinia Jazz Scholars program. Hill earned his bachelor’s in music education from Northern Illinois University and his master’s in jazz pedagogy from DePaul University. During college he made gigs and sessions around Chicago, jamming with and absorbing wisdom from the likes of Fred Anderson, Ernest Dawkins and Von Freeman. Even then, Hill was known in town as a stunningly gifted trumpeter with a soulful, highly textured tone. His sound is now somehow both deeply distinctive and a tour through jazz-trumpet history.
Well before Hill won the Monk prize—arguably the most important jazz competition in the world—his reputation for brilliance was firmly established in the Midwest, as a member of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, an in-demand sideman and a bandleader. He also developed into a precocious, determined young label owner, and has released five acclaimed discs—New Gospel, Sounds of the City, The Poet and Modern Flows Vols. I and II—through his Black Unlimited Music Group imprint.
A move to New York in 2014 helped him gain wider exposure and new opportunities—though he frequently returns to his hometown for gigs and projects—and in recent years Hill has garnered an enviable spate of press. Previewing a Blacktet show, the New Yorker said, “His performances and recordings reveal a smart post-bop player who circumvents genre clichés by incorporating elements of hip-hop and contemporary R. & B.” Of The Way We Play, DownBeatwrote, “The groove-laden arrangements provide the perfect soundscape for Hill’s fluid improvisational style, which, with its glass-like lucidity, recalls the crisp elegance of hard-bop stalwart Donald Byrd.”
Today, Hill maintains a nonstop touring schedule with the Blacktet, and the intensely interactive, utterly unique band has become a kind of graduate school for next-level talent—Hill included.“One of the most beautiful things about leading a group is the flow of knowledge and energy that we bounce off of one another,” he says. “Each member contributing their distinctive voice is what truly makes the music and magic happen.”
This performance is supported by the Consolidated Communications Artists Series underwriting great jazz performances.