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Marquis Hill Wins Thelonious Monk Trumpet Competition

By , Editor | The Jazz Line

Chicago-born trumpeter Marquis Hill has won the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition, one of the most prestigious jazz performance competitions in the world.

Photo courtesy of Steve Mundinger/Thelonious Monk Institute Of Jazz
Photo courtesy of Steve Mundinger/Thelonious Monk Institute Of Jazz

Last month, Hill was announced as one of 13 promising young semi-finalists invited to compete for the chance to win a $25,000 scholarship and a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Music Group in the Thelonious Monk Institute’s International Jazz Competition. He advanced to the finals where he performed “If I Were A Bell” and “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” and won the first place during an all-star gala concert that included performances from Pharrell Williams, Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, and Marcus Miller.

The competition was judged by a distinguished panel of jazz masters that included Roy Hargrove, Quincy Jones, Jimmy Owens, Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, and Ambrose Akinmusire (winner of the last Monk Trumpet Competition in 2007).

Billy Buss, of Berkeley, California, took second place while Adam O’ Farrill of Brooklyn, New York took third. All three finalists were accompanied by pianist Reginald “Reggie” Thomas, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and drummer Carl Allen.

Hill, 27, was raised in the south side of Chicago and started his music career early by playing drums in elementary school. Soon afterwards, Hill took up the trumpet and joined the Ravinia Jazz Scholars, where he met guitarist Bobby Broom and pianist Willie Pickens; the first of many mentors that would set him on the path to become one of the most well-respected young jazz performers around.

He went on to receive a B.A. In Music Education from Northern Illinois University in 2009 before earning a masters degree in Jazz Pedagogy from DePaul University. He is currently a teaching associate in the jazz program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Hill is no stranger to competition. In 2012 he won the International Trumpet Guild’s Jazz Improvisation Competition and in 2013 he won the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition.

He has already released several albums independently and established a strong regional network performing with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and at iconic Chicago venues like the Green Mill with other promising young musicians like bassist Matt Ulery. Now, with the support of Concord Music Group, Hill is on track to become a major player on the international jazz scene.

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