The Making Of The Marquis Hill Blacktet Hill may be a rising star of jazz trumpet, but it took a village of mentors, peers and other opportunities to enable him to grow. So Jazz Night went to Chicago to find out where he came from.

The Making Of Marquis Hill

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/454861342/454873062" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

About a year ago, trumpeter Marquis Hill, now 28, traveled to Los Angeles, played five tunes for a panel of judges, and won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. You can think of it as a sort of Heisman Trophy for young jazz artists, meaning that a lot more people discovered his talent in a hurry.

Hill's profile may have risen suddenly, but talent like that doesn't spontaneously emerge from nowhere. It takes a village of mentors, peers, opportunities and other educational infrastructure to enable a musician to grow. That's especially true with jazz, an inherently social music historically conveyed through the oral tradition. Besides, in his hometown of Chicago, folks had already known about Hill for some time: That's the "village" that raised him, after all.

Marquis Hill now splits his time between the Windy City and New York City, but still maintains a snappy working band full of catchy melodic ideas — a five-piece outfit he calls the Marquis Hill Blacktet. On one of his trips back home this summer, we asked him to show us "his" Chicago, culminating in a Blacktet performance downtown at one of the city's premier clubs: the Jazz Showcase.

Jazz Night In America travels to one of the great jazz cities to meet some of the people and places which transformed a young trumpeter from the South Side of Chicago into Marquis Hill.

Personnel

Marquis Hill, trumpet; Christopher McBride, alto saxophone; Justefan (Justin Thomas), vibraphone; Joshua Ramos, bass; Makaya McCraven, drums

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes play a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tom Misch And Yussef Dayes (Home) Concert

This Tiny Desk quarantine concert features a guest appearance from guitarist John Mayer.

Jacob Collier plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Jacob Collier (Home) Concert

Watch four different Jacob Colliers perform simultaneously in the same studio in this unprecedented Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Fabiano do Nascimento plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Fabiano Do Nascimento (Home) Concert

The Brazilian-born guitarist performs a peace-inducing concert from his home in Los Angeles.

Becky Harlan/WBGO

The Evolution Of Jon Batiste

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Jon Batiste was born for show business. Hear him play an intimate set in New York and on our radio show as we trace his story to his current gig as band leader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris and double bassist Ben Williams. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Stefon Harris: A Generation's Preeminent Voice Of The Vibraphone

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris gives us a lesson in empathy on and off the bandstand with his band Blackout.

Stefon Harris: A Generation's Preeminent Voice Of The Vibraphone

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/859446035/861194603" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Raul Midón plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Raul Midón (Home) Concert

The jazz singer and guitarist has multiple Grammy nominations to his name. He performed five songs for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Back To Top