The Metropolitan Jazz Octet is the reawakening of a group that was originally started in 1950, today this group takes the sound and ideas of it's founder and creates something new for a modern jazz audience. Their arrangements and performances are described it as “both a big small band and a small big band. It’s more like a ‘chamber big band with updated harmonies and more sophisticated rhythms.
Check out their two albums "The Road To Your Place" and the critically acclaimed "It's Too Hot For Words" with Chicago's very own Dee Alexander on Delmark Records.
The Metropolitan Jazz Octet is the reawakening of a group that was originally started in 1950 by saxophonist & arranger Tom Hilliard.
From the 50's through late 80's Hilliard wrote many of the group's 150 (+) charts. Throughout his life, Tom worked with Chicago’s top arrangers to expanding this eclectic jazz library.
In 1959, the band recorded an album on the Argo label called “The Legend of Bix,” a tribute to 1920's cornetist and composer Bix Beiderbecke.
As a professor at De Paul University School of Music, Hilliard taught three members of the current MJO to whom he bequeathed his musical library, passing the torch to the next generation. Now led by Jim Gailloreto and John Kornegay. MJO is made up of eight talented musicians who are very active in jazz and music scene in Chicago.
This current group started exploring Tom Hilliard’s library in 2014, and has since expanded to include many new works, contributing a unique and fresh spirit to the jazz octet.