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.
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 Bob Sutter, 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.