Marquis Hill, “Ego vs. Spirit,” from Modern Flows Vol. II
Trumpeter Marquis Hill is barely into his 30s, but like so many young players making waves on the scene today, he’s already played a key role in expanding the sonic boundaries of jazz. A Chicagoan now based in New York, Hill made a name for himself by infusing his personal brand of jazz with the musical influences of his youth, such as hip-hop, neo-soul and modern R&B. His breakout EP, Modern Flows Vol. I, found him combining elements from those styles with authority and ease, setting the framework for his unique artistic vision. His latest installment in that series, Modern Flows Vol. II, is due out Nov. 9 via Black Unlimited Music Group. In many ways, it’s the definitive statement of his musical life up to this present moment.
The standout track “Ego Vs. Spirit” is a stunning collage of Hill’s most dominant musical persuasions, featuring the hipness of a ‘70s-era Roy Ayers tune, the soulfulness of a Herbie Hancock record, the rambunctious energy of a Woody Shaw jam, and the rhythmic silkiness of a J Dilla track. That it all comes together so harmoniously should come as no surprise. Says Hill: “I want to continue to blur the genre line between quote-unquote ‘jazz’ and hip-hop, because I’m a true believer that it is the same music. Their roots come from the same tree; they just blossomed on different branches.” On his new album, Hill puts that musical truth into practice.
Feature image courtesy Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018