At the age of 28 Marquis Hill has accomplished more than most jazz musicians will in a lifetime. He has earned his Master’s Degree from Depaul University, released four albums as a frontman, and recently won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. Studying, teaching, and playing throughout the city has made Marquis Hill not only a representation of the Chicago jazz scene, but a representation of where jazz is going.
As I mentioned already Marquis Hill earned his Master’s at Depaul University, but he has been studying music in Chicago essentially his entire life. At age 12 he was a member of the South Shore Youth Jazz Ensemble and was also a participant in a number of different programs at Ravinia during his youth. During his undergraduate years Mr. Hill he was already one of the most in demand trumpeters playing throughout the Chicagoland area and his demand has only expanded since.
He has taught at several institutions including, but not limited to, NIU Summer Jazz Camp and The University of Illinois at Chicago. He has recorded four albums as a frontman with his latest being Modern Flows Vol 1. All four albums were released by Skiptone Music a local record label here in Chicago.
Overall my interaction with Marquis Hill have been short, but frequent. I saw him sporadically during his time at UIC, and saw him more often during my earlier years of piano playing. He would give a trumpet lesson right before my piano lesson so we would usually just exchange pleasantries while we switched rooms. Still, despite these brief interactions I’m sure if you ever talk to him you’ll have a good experience. For a musician at his level he is so kind and humble. I’ve seen him in between sets come off the stage and walk around taking pictures, thanking people for coming, and answering any questions (no matter how dumb) people have. Seeing him playing and conversing with the audience like this means all you can do is admire him. It’s amazing to think he hasn’t even reached 30 yet. I’ve loved his work so far and can’t wait to hear the music he has in-store for us next. I’m proud to call him a mentor, a Chicagoan, and this Month’s Chicago Artist of the Month.