Heartland Trio Offers Up Unique, Midwest Vision of the Genre

“DB: Your bass playing is hardly harsh, but it does seem to contain a more raw, direct energy.

HM: I would agree. I think I can recall the first time someone told me to pull harder. I was in jazz band in eighth grade and this woman, Susie Miget—she was sort of the “mother” of Iowa jazz—came to watch me do rehearsal, and she was like, “You sound good, but I can’t hear you. Pull harder, pull harder!” And that really stuck with me. After that, I always wanted to make sure I was heard. But I also figured out that it wasn’t necessary to just turn up the amp; there’s a lot to be said for really digging into the instrument. So, that’s really the most important thing to me, my sound, how big the sound is, how woody it is.

DB: Speaking of textures, what kinds are you trying to create for the trio?

HM: We’re definitely interested in in expanding the role of the chordless trio, exploring how we can add and work on new sounds together. So, maybe it doesn’t even sound like there’s only three people. Sometimes I’m doing that by using my bow, or Barclay—it always blows my mind, maybe this is a typical saxophonist thing—he screams through his sax. And Rocky can add lots of different percussion toys, and I’m just adding some floating singing on top. It really expands the trio sound.

DB: And expands the notion of jazz, too, while you’re at it…”

Catalina Maria Johnson for Downbeat, April 24, 2019.


Indiana Jazz Trio Takes Inspiration from Garage Rock

“Heartland Trio founder and bassist Hannah Marks’ introduction to music performance had spiritual beginnings, if by accident…With her folk background, it’s no surprise a cover of the traditional standard “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” is included on the album. Surprising was how they deconstructed what Marks called “probably my favorite song of all time” to be almost unrecognizable. “I’ve been playing this song for so long, and the iteration I brought into the trio was closer to what I had done with my church band for a long time. We played that song every show for the last year, year and a half, and it’s been breaking down more and more,” said Marks. It’s not unlike what the better known The Bad Plus might have done to the song; the Minneapolis trio’s penchant for deconstructing songs from popular rock and pop artists including Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Cindy Lauper, and the Bee Gees is a comparison Marks would likely consider flattering, as Heartland Trio touts the same DIY ethic and garage-rock sensibility the Minneapolis trio brings to their jazz based music.”

Jon Norton for WGLT, December 18, 2018.

Ravi Coltrane, Jason Moran to headline Hyde Park Jazz Festival

" always with this intelligently programmed festival – which will run Sept. 29-30 at multiple Hyde Park locations – underlying themes and messages will drive the proceedings. “With this year’s festival, I continued to think about young people,” says Kate Dumbleton, the event’s artistic director, who with her colleagues on the festival’s programming committee indeed has cast a spotlight on rising musicians from Chicago and beyond. Thaddeus Tukes with pianist Alexis Lombre, bassist Hannah Marks’ Heartland Trio, saxophonist Lenard Simpson’s Trio, saxophonist Jenna Przybysz’s Quartet and pianist Julius Tucker’s Trio (all on Sept. 29) are up-and-coming artists stepping to the fore."

Howard Reich for the Chicago Tribune, May 28, 2018

Jazz at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

"I think the most important thing to me about IU and what attracted me to the school is the professors and how accessible the professors are...This school and the community is so all-encompassing, on every side and every aspect of being a professional musician that I know I'm going to leave this school and be ready to get out there and play."


Hannah Marks Selected for Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony

"The Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony is a one-week, intensive educational program in jazz performance for a very limited number of exceptionally talented students...Hannah was one of only four bass players accepted into the program. Applicants were from the United States, Australia, and the UK...According to Roosevelt orchestra director Jennifer Luft, what makes her selection to the prestigious camp all the more impressive is that, until recently, she was a cello player. Hannah has played upright bass for just one year and studies with Steve Charlson and Dave Altemeier. “She is one amazing young woman,” notes Luft."

Des Moines Public Schools Newsletter, June 6th, 2014



Jazz Studies Amplified

"The most rewarding thing about being a Jacobs student is that many of my fellow students have become my close friends and collaborators. I love playing in rigorous school ensembles and in high-level groups led by my professors, but it’s also fun to relax and jam with my friends in our spare time....Being a music major is a lot of hard work, and it can be very stressful. However, I know that taking required jazz and classical music courses, exploring other genres, and playing with mentors and friends are all tools to becoming the best musician I can be. The Jacobs School of Music is overflowing with talented musicians, and, as it always has been, it’s up to me to find my own path by following all my interests."

Imagine Magazine, March/April 2017

Jazz Studies Improvised

"The most important thing I learned at camp was that there are kids my age even more passionate than I am about jazz. Seeing this gave me hope for my future in college—that I will find kindred spirits who will challenge me as a player—and I started setting bigger goals for myself. Realizing that some kids attend performing arts high schools where the bulk of their time is spent in rehearsal and performance, I pushed myself to take charge of my jazz education. I knew I needed to create opportunities for myself...Like any jazz musician, I know how important it is to be able to improvise, to take cues from other players in a combo, and to build off their sound. When it’s my turn to play a solo, I must often take a risk and compose as I go, listening to the people I play with in order to produce a coherent sound. Although I take jazz band as one of my high school classes, my real education in jazz has come from my involvement in the music scene, both locally and nationally. By taking risks and connecting with the other musicians around me, I have improvised my own jazz education."

Imagine Magazine, March/April 2013