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.   

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metropolitan jazz octet


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. 

The Legend of Bix
Tom Hiliard

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, John Kornegay and Bob Sutter. MJO is made up of eight talented musicians who are active in jazz and music education in the Chicago area.


This current group started exploring Tom Hilliard’s library in 2014, and has since expanded to include many new works from MJO members.


Together these eight musicians join to create a unique and fresh contribution to the spirit of jazz.

metropolitan jazz octet


Jim Gailloreto tenor sax

Jim Gailloreto - tenor sax

Jim has performed with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Lyric Opera  and Fulcrum Point. Jim has worked with, Fred Hersch, Patricia Barber, John McLean, Grazyna Auguscik, and many more. His string arrangements can be heard on Kurt Elling's Grammy award winning CD “Dedicated To You”.


Doug Scharf - trumpet

Doug Scharf has played trumpet for live shows with Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Glen Campbell, Lady Gaga, George Benson, Clark Terry, Kennedy Center Awards, Chicago Jazz Orchestra. In LA he recorded several movie and TV show soundtracks, and was in the house band on "Late Show with Joan Rivers." He has written for Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Cher, Thomas Dolby, Phil Ramone, Fox TV "Late Show with Joan Rivers," and Me-TV's "Svengoolie."


Doug Bistrow- bass

Doug Bistrow received his degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.  He has performed with Itzhak Perlman, the Silk Road Ensemble, Edgar Meyer, Howard Levy, Time For Three, Johnny Osborne, Ky-Mani Marley, Corey Chisel, Keith & Tex, and many others. Bistrow is a member of the Chicago Philharmonic, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. Bistrow is on the faculty at Vandercook College of Music and the Merit School of Music.

John K Delmark Apr 2019.jpeg

John Kornegay- alto sax

John has a rich career as a performer, composer and arranger. He has performed with legends like Tony Bennett, Doc Severinsen, Bernadette Peters and Chita Rivera. He has written for John Frigo on the Tonight Show, the Chicago Sinfonietta, Purdue University Choirs’. He composed and orchestrated the Academy Award-nominated Holocaust documentary, “Eyewitness”. (photo by Harvey Tillis)

Russ Phillips trombone

Russ Phillips - trombone

Russ Phillips, trombonist, was born in Denver, but grew up and studied in the Chicago area after his Father, Russ Phillips, Sr. left Louis Armstrong’s All Stars as trombonist for 1-1/2 years. Continuing in the tradition, Russ has become a well known and respected performer in Chicago and nationally. He’s been a featured artist in numerous festivals, cruises and concerts appearing with Howard Alden, Harry Allen, Doc Cheatham, Kenny Davern,The Four Freshman and others.


Bob Rummage - drums

Bob Rummage is one of the busiest musicians in Chicago. He has performed with many internationally known musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Nat Adderley, Benny Golson, Buddy DeFranco, Bela Fleck and Mississippi blues man, Mose Allison. He is currently the percussion director at Elmhurst College. Mr. Rummage is a much sought after clinician having made appearances at various high schools and colleges.

Peter Brusen bari sax

Peter Brusen - baritone sax

Born in Davenport, Iowa to public school music teachers, Peter Brusen studied both the saxophone and the bassoon from a young age. After attending the University of Iowa, he began his professional career with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Veracruz in Mexico. Since then, he has performed with The Chicago Symphony, Lyric Opera, Grant Park Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Grand Rapids Symphony. 

Bob Sutter piano

Bob Sutter - piano

At DePaul University, Bob met Tom Hilliard and played in the big band under his direction. While Bob loathes writing about himself in the third person, he has nonetheless managed to work as a pit musician for approximately 35 years, as well as playing music for hundreds of commercial jingles. He appeared on Oprah's show several times, including performances with Patti LaBelle and Andrea Bocelli.


John Mc Cortney - engineer

John is a recording engineer and recording studio owner whose career began in 1976. Since 1990, He has been the President and Chief Engineer of AirWave Recording Studios, Inc.  During his career he has worked with Tom Waits, Gregg Allman, Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Musselwhite, Honey Boy Edwards, Bill Monroe, Ken Vandermark, Fareed Haque, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Elmhurst Symphony, the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, the Apollo Chorus, the William Ferris Chorale, the Newberry Consort. He currently focused on the areas of Classical, Jazz, and children's music.


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