Marquis Hill Blacktet | Jazz Showcase | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Marquis Hill Blacktet Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Thu., Oct. 31, 8 & 10 p.m., Fri., Nov. 1, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., Nov. 2, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 3, 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2013

On his lovely third album, The Poet (Skiptone Music), 26-year-old Chicago trumpet phenom Marquis Hill settles into a consistent voice, delivering one lyrical solo after another with concision and muscle. He’s joined by a fleet working band that has coalesced around his melodic postbop vision, forcefully propelled and elastically supported by bassist Josh Ramos and drummer Makaya McCraven and given crisp, resonant colors by terrific young vibist Justin Thomas. Alto saxophonist Christopher McBride remains Hill’s front-line partner, often joining him in dark, burnished unison lines or trading improvised statements as though they were finishing one another’s thoughts. One of Hill’s early mentors was powerhouse tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, but on The Poet the trumpeter downplays his free-jazz background to dig into a more mainstream sound infused with smoky soul overtones; the improvisational ethos reveals itself mostly in the music’s energy and volatility. The album’s songs, all but one of which Hill wrote, generally run about three minutes, so the group occasionally feels constrained—a problem that ought to disappear in the extended readings these pieces are sure to get onstage. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20, $35 VIP, $15 students

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