Milton Suggs Philosophy

Sept. 2 - 2012

Milton Suggs started out as a pianist – no accident considering Chicago piano great Willie Pickens is his godfather. He was, still concentrating on piano as a graduate student at DePaul University when, the story goes, visitor Wynton Marsalis heard him sing and encouraged him to keep at it. Suggs took his advice, and is he ever glad he did: At 29, with two albums under his belt, he has joined up-and-comers such as Gregory Porter and Jose James in livening up jazz’s long-stagnant male vocal category.

Suggs, whose father played bass with Elvin Jones, is equally at home setting bebop solos to words, performing the songs of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn and slipping into the pop-soul styles of Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway. Born in Chicago and raised in Atlanta, he returned here to attend Columbia College. After winning a residency in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program, he has never looked back. He’ll be accompanied by vibraphonist Justin “Justefan” Thomas, pianist Willerm Delisfort, bassist Joshua Ramos and drummer Greg Artry.

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