The Neighborhood, the Jazz influenced album by independent artist, MC Till, is scheduled for release on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. This new project is unlike any of MC Till’s earlier work as it encompasses live instrumentation from four musical giants, GRAMMY® nominated bassist Byron House, GRAMMY nominated guitarist and producer Ric Hordinski, and Blue Wisp Big Band members Jon Von Ohlen on drums, and Steve Schmidt on piano.
In 2007, Till quit his comfortable job in the suburbs and moved into one of the poorest Cincinnati neighborhoods without a steady paycheck. He became a student mentor to several children and worked with their families in building authentic friendships. In 2008, he married his beautiful wife Larita and a few years later they had a precious little daughter. Hardly a full year after giving birth Till’s wife was diagnosed with cancer and went through a terrifying round of chemotherapy. Till’s 2014 The Neighborhood release deals with the highs and lows of his past several years.
Till shares his personal life in a universal way. Listeners will appreciate the metaphor, story, and letter format that Till utilizes to describe his recent experiences. These experiences are big and so is the music. Most contemporary Hip-hop albums are manufactured using several producers, countless edits, and synthesized sounds. The Neighborhood enlists grammy nominated musicians crafting a live sound.
Legendary drummer Jon Von Ohlen earned his claim to fame as the drummer for Woody Herman and Stan Kenton in the 60′s and 70′s. Now, Von Ohlen leads the Blue Wisp Big Band in Cincinnati, Ohio.
GRAMMY® nominated bassist Byron House has years of experience playing with music’s elites such as Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Jerry Douglas, Jorma Kaukonen, The Dixie Chicks, Nickel Creek, and Robert Plant. House was honored with a grammy nomination in 2005 for his work on Mark O’Connor’s 30-Year Retrospective.
In 1979 Steve Schmidt began touring with Columbia recording artist and guitarist Wilbert Longmire. He then became the house pianist at The Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Schmidt has played with Eddie Harris, Charlie Rouse, Joe Henderson, Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow, Joe Lovano, Mark Murphy, Johnny Coles and Scott Hamilton. Schmidt co-founded the 16-piece Blue Wisp Big Band. Schmidt has also played with the Count Basie Orchestra on several occasions.
Ric Hordinski is a genius on the guitar and that genius was solidified when Hordiniski was asked to go on tour with guitar legend Phil Keagy. Prior to that time Hordinski co-founded Over-the-Rhine with Linford Detweiler, Brian Kelley, and Karin Bergquist. After leaving Over-the-Rhine he began a solo and producing career. He has appeared on records with David Wilcox, Tony Levin, Bill Kreutzmann, Victor Wooten, Victoria Williams and Robbie Fulks. He has also produced award-winning records with greats such as Wilcox and Phil Keaggy. Hordinski was honored with a GRAMMY® nomination in 2003, has received two Cammy awards, and a Dove award.
“I was in awe that day in the studio.” MC Till recounts on the day these four musical titans laid down the instrumentation for The Neighborhood. “Ric would give instructions for about 30 seconds, Byron would start playing on the acoustic bass, Jon would drum up something, Steve would throw in some piano, Ric would watch carefully and start strumming his guitar, and moments later we would have a song. It was truly inspiring.”
Working with such brilliant musicians is a dream come true for Till. Being a Hip-hop artist Till traditionally works with sampled based producers. With this record Till was able to really let the music inspire. And it did. “I’m still living off the high of that initial recording session. I can’t wait to start performing this music with a live band.” Till plans to do that as he works with Hordinski in assembling such a band.