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Written by Bill Milkoski, Downbeat Magazine

— May 2024

The Door Is Open (OA2; 53:17 ****) is Randy Napoleon’s second volume dedicated to the music of eccentric Michigan-based composer Gregg Hill. Backed by a core of group of pianist Rick Roe, bassists Rodney Whitaker and Lucas LaFave, drummer Quincy Davis and vocalist Aubrey Johnson, whose facile, discipline doubling elevates the proceedings, the guitarist brings a warm, appealing tone and Wis-inspired sensibility to the varied program. Guitarist and vocalist execute intricate unisons on the vibrant title track, the buoyant “Escape To Cat Island” and the delicate titular jazz waltz while Johnson steals the show with her freewheeling scatting on the temp-shifting “Spa-Taneity.” Napoleon shines on the all-out swingers “Skyline” and “the Last Pop Tune,” the “Cantaloupe Island”-sounding “Motel Blues” and the poignant ballad “April Song.”

Order your CD today on at our Gregg Hill online store [Shop]

Gregg's latest Book "The Speckled Frog" was just released with 29 new jazz compositions.

The Speckled Frog continues in the musical spirit of the two preceding books of tunes, Moonducks and The Tuning Fork. The first two books, Outrospectives and Spontaneity, contained many tunes that were complex and sometimes technically challenging. The current material leans more to openness and accessibility for players and arrangers alike. As long as the arranger is true to the melody and chord changes, he or she has the freedom to bring in their own palette and put their own stamp on the tunes. This collaborative approach has worked  well with the recent material and I hope to continue on that path. In the process, I am still able to create some surprises, detours, interval clashes and time signature shenanigans. That is the joy of writing and why I continue to do it.

Each tune has its own story and springs from different experiences. The Speckled Frog is a journey of the imagination. Sometimes the trip is short. Other time the trip stretches out and goes to multiple destinations. The imagination follows its own course and sets its own boundaries. I hope you enjoy the journey!

November 13, 2023

Gregg Hill's Album Technocats on Cold Plunge Records takes the top spot on the Roots Music Report! The dynamic band includes Chris Glassman, on bass trombone, Nathan Borton, on guitar, Michael J. Reed on drums, Xavier Davis, on piano and Javier Enrique, on bass. They showcase a wide range, depth and artistic maturity. Hill’s memorable themes are used as springboards for narratives by each member of this fine group with solos that are always tasteful, lyrical and accessible.

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