Marquis Hill - The Way We Play album review: electrifying the standards

Thu, Jul 14, 2016, 15:33


The Way We Play

Marquis Hill

Concord Jazz


Though the jazz tree has spread its branches in many directions, the trunk continues to grow and, judging by Chicago trumpeter Marquis Hill’s fourth album, it’s in rude good health.

Winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk competition, Hill has previously favoured original compositions, but The Way We Play concentrates on standards – from songbook classics such as Polkadots and Moonbeams to jazz totems such as Gigi Gryce’s Minority – offering a fascinating window on how this next generation of hard-boppers approach arrangement and improvisation.

Justin Thomas’s vibraphone gives the quintet a light, open feel, and drummer Makaya McCraven adds elements of funk and hip-hop to traditional swing, but it’s Hill who electrifies the band’s sound when he starts to solo.