Hailed by the New York Times as “a painterly young pianist with a chamber-like approach to composition and a fine recent album on the SmallsLive label” Theo Hill is emerging as one of the top young voices in jazz piano. Born in Albany, New York, he began to study classical piano with Taubman Technique specialist Mary Moran at the age of five. He gravitated toward jazz studying piano at age twelve with Lee Shaw. By age sixteen, he was performing at clubs in the tri-city area and made his first New York City appearance sitting in at Smalls Jazz Club. He was accepted into the Jazz Conservatory at SUNY Purchase where he studied jazz piano with Charles Blenzig and Hal Galper.
After graduating cum laude in 2004 he moved to New York City to immerse himself in the vibrant jazz culture. Theo has performed in hundreds of venues including Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center, The Blue Note, Birdland, Carnegie Hall, Smalls, 55 Bar, The Iridium, Jazz Standard, Zinc Bar, Lenox Lounge, Minton’s, Bill’s Place, Smoke, St. Nick’s Pub, Cleopatra’s Needle, Fat Cat, Shapeshifter Lab, Nublu, and The Jazz Gallery. Hill has performed in over 30 states as well as international appearances in Australia, Austria, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Romania, South Korea, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. As a sideman Theo has had the opportunity to perform with Jeff “Tain” Watts, Charles Tolliver, Wallace Roney, Jeremy Pelt, Bobby Watson, Victor Bailey, Lenny White, Roy Ayers, Harvey Mason, Frank Lacy, Essiet Essiet, Victor Jones, Bill Saxton, J.D Allen, Tim Green, Willie Jones III, Curtis Lundy, David Weiss, Carmen Lundy, Gregory Porter as well as many other master musicians.
Theo has performed with The Charles Tolliver Big Band, The Captain Black Big Band, The Josh Evans Big Band and is currently a member of The Mingus Big Band. He has also performed or recorded with Eddie Henderson, Nicholas Payton, Josh Evans, Dave Liebman, Vincent Herring, Steve Wilson, Marcus Strickland, Stacy Dillard, Logan Richardson, Gerald Cannon, “Burniss” Earl Travis, Ben Williams, Lewis Nash, Ralph Peterson, Winard Harper, E.J. Strickland, Marcus Gilmore, Obed Calvaire and Justin Brown. Theo’s debut record Theo Hill Quartet Live at Smalls (SmallsLive) features Dayna Stephens, Myron Walden, Joe Sanders and Rodney Green. Theo works as a bandleader and as an in demand sideman performing, composing, recording and touring around the world. Theo also conducts master classes, teaches privately and works as a private lesson instructor at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and at the Collective School of Music.