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Jazz educator wins Thelonius Monk competition

Marquis Hill accepts congratulations at the 2014 Thelonius Monk Competition in Los Angeles. (Click on image for larger file.)

Marquis Hill (center) accepts congratulations at the 2014 Thelonius Monk Competition in Los Angeles from John Burk of the Concord Music Group and jazz great Herbie Hancock.

Marquis Hill, trumpeter and teaching associate in the jazz program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, won the Thelonius Monk Jazz Competition at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre Nov. 9, considered by many jazz experts as the highest honor for a young jazz musician.

Hill will receive a $25,000 scholarship and a recording contract with Concord Music Group.

He competed against 12 other world-caliber trumpeters in the semifinals and two more in the finals. The jury included Quincy Jones, Arturo Sandoval and other jazz luminaries.

Hill’s selections were the standards “If I Were A Bell” and “Polka Dots and Moonbeams.”

The Nov. 9 finals event included the presentation of an award to saxophonist and former president Bill Clinton for his contributions to jazz education, and featured performances by Pharrell Williams with Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves with Wayne Shorter, and Taj Mahal with John Mayer and Marcus Miller.

This is Hill’s third international win. In 2012, he won the International Trumpet Guild’s Jazz Improvisation Competition. The following year, he won the 2013 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition.

“I’m delighted that Marquis has won an honor that will bring him further international recognition,” said Andy Baker, director of jazz studies at UIC. “Marquis is as gifted an educator as he is a performer. We look forward to his return next fall after his teaching and performing in New York.”

Hill has been playing trumpet since grade school, performing with the South Shore Youth Ensemble and the Ravinia Jazz Scholars, which led him to meet role models like pianist Willie Pickens and guitarist Bobby Broom.

He has recorded four CDs and has performed on CDs of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, saxophonist Ernest Dawkins and pianist Willerm Delisfort. He plays with these musicians at Chicago venues like the Green Mill.

Before teaching at UIC, Hill earned a B.A. in music education from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in jazz pedagogy from DePaul University.

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