Marquis Hill

Trumpet – Jazz Institute, Advanced Package

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rom 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.

Hill became a presence on the global scene virtually overnight in November of 2014, when he won the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz competition. 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. Throughout his journey, he has supported and guested with a who’s who of jazz that includes Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Boney James, Kurt Elling, Joe Lovano and Hill’s trailblazing Chicago peer Makaya McCraven.

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.”

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