History of Metropolitan Jazz Octet
MJO is the reawakening of a group that originally started in 1950 by Chicago saxophonist and arranger Tom Hilliard.
From the late 1950's through the mid 80's Hilliard wrote many of the octets arrangements and original compositions.
He also collaborated with Chicago’s first call arrangers and studio musicians, together they created the library of moar than 150 charts.
In 1959, they recorded an album on the Argo label titled “The Legend of Bix,”; Hilliard's arrangements in a tribute to famed 1920's cornetist and composer Bix Beiderbecke.
"The Legend of Bix "ARGO 1959.
Tom Hilliard - Jazz Saxophonist, Composer & Educator
As professor at De Paul University School of Music, Tom Hilliard taught three current members of MJO to whom he bequeathed his complete library, passing the torch to the next generation.
This new octet started exploring Tom Hilliard’s library in 2014, and with the support of the Non-profit Jazz Artist Resource and has since composed and recorded three ablums. The Road To Your Place, It's Too Hot For Words and The BowieProject
The ensemble is lead by Jim Gailloreto, John Kornegay, Peter Brusen and John McCortney. MJO is made up of the most talented musicians active in jazz and music education in Chicago. Together they create a unique and fresh contribution to the on going spirit ofTom's jazz vision.
The Legend of Bix 1959
A Fantasy on Bix Beiderbecke
The Argo Recording Session "The Legend of Bix"
This image captures the 1959 recording session at Chicago's Ter-Mar Recording Studios of the album The Legend of Bix (Audio Odyssey by Argo)
Tom Hilliard, Dave Edwards, Eddy Avis, Ben Baileys
Pictorial History Of Jazz
by Grauer and Keepnews
"Bix Beiderbecke was obviously the sort of man about whom legends insist upon growing. He lived for only twenty-eight years, and his career actually spanned less than a decade (most of that time spent in bands that could not do justice to his sensitive, lyric jazz talents). Yet he was a tremendous influence on all the musicians who heard him: the Chicagoans, not much younger than he, made him their idol; and such listeners as Louis Armstrong, Red Nichols, and the men who worked alongside him in the Paul Whitman and Jean Goldkette orchestras seem to have been uniformly awed and amazed. He remains a vivid, affectionate and larger than life-size memory to almost all who knew him—and to a great many who didn’t. He remains , in short , the number one jazz legend."