“Last Wednesday evening, the most talked-about young trumpeter in jazz performed with students from Northern Illinois University in an ultra-chic, historic and somewhat surprising setting.
Marquis Hill, winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, led a youthful band in launching Jazz at the Pump Room. The new weekly series brings music back to the place where Frank Sinatra often lounged and Ike Cole — Nat’s younger brother — sang and played piano for years.
True, Hill and friends weren’t precisely in the Pump Room but several paces beyond the celebrated restaurant that hotelier Ian Schrager reconceived when he transformed the Ambassador East Hotel into the Public Chicago in 2011. So while folks who were dining in the Pump Room could hear the music nearby, serious listeners could stroll to the hotel’s intimate Library bar, on the other side of the lobby, and sit as close to the performers as they chose.
So why has jazz returned to the Pump Room — or at least nearby?“