Blacktet x Phony Ppl is THE FUTURE


The past few months I’ve had the opportunity to play with the Marquis Hill Blacktet and Phony Ppl regularly. Let me tell you why they are the mf future!

The Blacktet sometimes rotates members but mainly consists of Marquis Hill on trumpet, Joel Ross aka “Young Genius” on vibes, Jeremiah Hunt on Bass, Jonathan Pinson on drums and either myself on Sax or Josh Johnson. Everyone in this group is insanely creative and Marquis being the great band leader he is allows for everyone’s voice to shine through to create this uniquely soulful, grounded and free form sound. Often Marquis will plays these extended Coltrane-Esque cadenzas that will connect the end of one song to the next or just be a stand alone solo trumpet feature. I love how you don’t know what’s coming next and anyone can step up and interject with an idea. It’s one of the only times I’ve experience a real musical democracy on stage. 

Also this dude Joel Ross is an absolute genius on the vibraphone. He’s the youngest dude in the band but has a command over his instrument like no one I’ve ever seen. Joel is gonna take over the jazz world I’m sure of it and push music forward too. 

Now I’m two weeks away from another tour with Marquis and the Blacktet and I literally can’t wait to get back out on the road. I learn so much from this band!!


I’ve also been playing with Phony Ppl the past year or so. I first guested on a track called
”Cookie Crumble” last year for their album Mosaic. Elijah Austin (guitarist) called me up and told me to pull up to the studio and he proceeded to teach me this guitar solo phrase by phrase. We recorded it in about 15 minutes and he put it on record. Ever since then, I would come sit in when they had shows at The Blue Note and jam with them.

Getting to watch this bands process in recording and songwriting has opened my eyes up to another way of creating music. Like the Blacktet this band allows everyones’ personalities to shine through and contribute on an equal level. It’s literally a band of brothers and friends that all go back to middle school or high school. I’m probably the only person that’s not from Brooklyn but I feel right at home when I play with these dudes. They all are individually incredible songwriters, producers and multi instrumentalists. It’s inspiring as hell to see all of them switch instruments and come up with parts for each other with literally NO EGO. That’s the best part. It’s literally all love and no hate with these dudes which is super refreshing.

Most recently we all performed at Steve McQueen’s Soundtrack of America at The Shed for a packed room of music fans. It was a magical night that celebrated the evolution of Black Music and it was very fitting that Phony Ppl ended the night. Their music covers Jazz, Soul, Blues, Hip Hop and Rock in a very honest way. Black music is in good hands and I’m so fortunate to be contributing to it…#futureisbright

Marquis Hill Blacktet in Shanghai.JPG
Braxton Cook