Metropolitan Jazz Octet - The Genesis

The Metropolitan Jazz Octet (MJO) is the reawakening of a group that was originally started in the 1950’s by Chicago saxophonist and arranger Tom Hilliard.


From the late 1950's through mid 80's Hilliard wrote many of the octets compositions. He worked with Chicago’s top arrangers and studio musicians to expand the library to 150-plus charts. In 1959 MJO 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
The Legend of Bix
Tom Hilliard

As a professor at De Paul University School of Music, 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 has since composed and recorded music from the current members.


Now 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 of jazz.


is happy to work with these amazing people 

metropolitan jazz octet
Metropolitan Jazz Octet logo

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.