Marquis Hill, New Gospel Revisited Review
by: Ferell Aubre
Trumpeter Marquis Hill has released New Gospel Revisited on Edition Records, a live recording that and reinterprets his debut 2012 album New Gospel. The line-up for the recording is Walter Smith III, tenor saxophone; Joel Ross, vibraphone; James Francies, piano; Harish Raghavan, bass; and Kendrick Scott, drums. Since winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Composition award, he has built a reputation for synthesizing what he describes as the essential elements of the Africa-American creative heritage, including contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, house, and neo-soul. New Gospel Revisited is a live recording that reinvents his debut as a leader with a new ensemble, a new attention, and a refined ear as a bandleader, composer, and performer. Hill explains, “… New Gospel was my debut album and my first completed production. To revisit this music in a fresh way, with a new band has been uniquely invigorating —and hugely rewarding.”
“Law & Order” has an up-tempo jaunty modern jazz feel. After the two-horn melody, Hill shows why he has made a name for himself since hitting the international jazz scene. His tone is warm, and his phrasing and articulation are deep in the jazz tradition. Hill is always building his solo around motifs and rhythmic patterns, and Scott’s drumming constantly pushes the trumpeter to new heights. For Smith’s solo, the same holds accurate as Scott again drives the solo to a focused summit. Ross takes a more subdued route, building his melodic colors with patience and control.
“The Thump” is Hill exploring jazz through a hip-hop and R&B lens. “Marquis is one of the brightest stars of his generation,” says Edition Records CEO Dave Stapleton. “He has a rich and deep tone, a masterful command of his instrument, and a strong compositional voice. In recent years his self-released albums fearless and bold approach to music-making has earned him a reputation as one of the most important jazz voices of his generation. We are incredibly excited to welcome Marquis to the Edition roster.” This composition shows the many possibilities of the future for Hill.
New Gospel Revisited is a step forward for Hill and his growth since New Gospel is evident. The highlight of the set is “Law & Order,” with the remaining tunes maintaining a relatively mellow burn. Scott is the shining star on the date as his drumming keeps many meandering solo moments exciting and focused. New Gospel Revisited is an essential listen to keep your jazz catalog brimming with fresh artists and the sounds of today, but Hill still has much more to offer and will undoubtedly deliver as he continues to build his catalog with Edition Records.