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Expansive exercise of Marquis Hill at Constellation Chicago Jan 19th 2017

Imagine remapping the stars and renaming the planets for an evening. Sonically, and visually interpreted, the Marquis Hill band did this last night.

What is known as Orion is now Marquis Hill, trumpet by his side, listening and gazing toward the NY pianist James Francies (Neptune). Francies sound was individualized, twinkling and rich. Object Saturn is now known as the McCraven. Makaya laid down the rings of percussion, rhyming hits couplets and divining underground water. Joshua Abrams is Ursa Major. The scroll of his bass is the Pinwheel galaxy, strings north by north west. Above Abrams, is Draco, now Josh Johnson holding his own court next to the King of the night, Mr. Hill.

That makes me a shooting star, brush grabbing sonic flavor.

I worked on a series of low sheen black panels. Marquis’ Blacktet in mind. Abstractions with some representation underneath layers of opaque sound.

I intended to work blind and behind the partition for the show, but Hill had envisioned me out on the floor, visible and contributing. The house was full. The band seemed to be exercising and flexing musical limbs. Hill is known for reaching into the traditional past when creating tunes for the now, like on his great record The Way We Play. Thursday night’s sound was like a whirling of vespers and a sonic stretching into the upper atmosphere. The venue Constellation invites and encourages these ventures. I was just dialoging with Matt Piet, about how much we owe to Mike Reed and the art space he has fostered.

Marquis was pleased with the artworks, and we plan to collaborate again.

On Sunday, January 22nd, I start a 4th Sunday residency with Chris Weller at the Friendly Tap in Berwyn. And on Thursday January 26th, I get to live paint for the first time at the legendary Jazz Showcase with Luciano Antonio Brazilian band. Thank you, Mr. Segal. I wont make a mess.


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