CLARKSVILLE: Virtuoso trumpeter Marquis Hill and the Marquis Hill Blacktet will headline this 56th Annual Mid-South Jazz Festival, held in collaboration with the Clarksville Community Concert Association, on Saturday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m.
The latest in a long line of Chicago jazz standouts including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver, Hill possesses a warm, mellifluous tone on trumpet and flugelhorn with which he unravels sleek melodic passages that are as commanding as they are cogent. JazzTimes praised his trumpet playing by stating, “His articulation, precise but unlabored, calls to mind the precedent of Clifford Brown, while his bravura phrasing suggests an equal immersion in Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw.” As a composer, he builds upon his distinctive sound to craft arresting originals that embrace post-bop, hip-hop, R&B and spoken word.
Hill has released four well-received discs on Skiptone Music: “New Gospel” (2011), “Sound of the City” (2012), “The Poet” (2013) and “Modern Flows, vol. 1” (2014). He raised his profile significantly by winning the 2014 Thelonious Trumpet Competition, which awarded him a $25,000 scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Records.
Hill’s debut for Concord Jazz, “The Way We Play”, is hardly a color-by-numbers jazz standards album. As Hill has done on his previous discs, he revitalizes the material by placing heavier emphasis on the groove, which enables the compositions to resonate more to a 21st-century jazz audience.
“I really want to make it very clear that this is the sound of my band, which is uniquely Chicago. I wanted to put everything on the table… this is the way that we play,” Hill explained.
The Mid-South Jazz Festival began in 1961 under the direction of Aaron Schmitt. It featured the APSU Jazz Collegians, as well as big bands from Ft. Campbell and regional high schools and universities. Artists featured with the Jazz Collegians included such jazz lunimaries as Buddy Baker, Louis Bellson, Carl Fontana, Urbie Green, Don Jacoby, Rich Matteson, Clark Terry, Dominic Spera and Phil Wilson.
All events are held in the George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall in the Music/Mass Communication Building on the campus of Austin Peay State University at Eighth and Marion streets in Clarksville. Admission is free to APSU students. For additional ticket information, visit www.clarksvillemusic.org or 1-877-811-0200.