2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

This year the Gulf Coast Ethnic & Heritage festival will be inducting a great Mobilian into our Jazz Hall of Fame.

karl hill

The Life and Legacy

“Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference”

Karl Bernard Hill, a lifetime resident of the Campground neighborhood in Mobile, AL, passed away peacefully Monday, January 3, 2022. He was born on August 2, 1953. Karl was the youngest child of the late Corine Tartt Hill Wesley and James Hill, Sr., and the step son of Fred Wesley Sr., who all preceded him in death.

On August 2, 1953, Karl blessed the family of 1327 Adams Street and brought his own charismatic presence and uniqueness to the family, the campground, community, friends and everyone privileged to know him. Karl was born and raised in the same nurturing home where he passed. The home was filled with love from his mother, brother, aunt, and three cousins. Even in this pandemic climate, you can look around and see how well known and deeply loved Karl is by countless love ones from everywhere. He always possessed a spontaneous spirit that inspired him to do things “His Way”, with very little fear or reservations. 

During Karl’s early years of school, he noticeably carried an exuberate spirit down the halls of Northside Elementary School, where he mesmerized teachers with his captivating voice to speak and articulate well in plays, Boy Scout activities, and other performances.  Karl was equally as gifted with exceptional music abilities that keenly distinguished his talents from many others.  Karl excelled in displaying his musical giftedness throughout his elementary school. He easily maintained this exemplary reputation as he moved to Dunbar Middle School. Dunbar’s band room was never the same after the positive impact Karl left with the band director and fellow class mates in the band.  After working attentively with Karl, the band director was highly impressed and grateful for the instrumental role he was blessed to play in refining Karl’s musical aptness and expertise.  In fact, as a 9th grade student at Dunbar Middle School, Karl was asked to accompany the Central High School 130 Marching Band in several concerts and performances; before graduating from Dunbar Middle school, Karl was granted the privilege to play in both Dunbar Middle and Central High School bands.  By this time, there were very few horn and percussion instruments Karl was unable to play. 

I think we can wholeheartedly and unanimously agree, that for a lifetime, Karl has loved music and is famously known for the profound mark he has left in our hearts.  He never shied away from clearly conveying to the world that he passionately loved music and he remained eagerly committed to sharing his musical brilliance everywhere.

In 1973, Karl embraced a new journey and joined The United States Navy. In 1973, he married Autherine W. Hill, and to this union was born Macenia J. Hill. In 1996, again Karl was blessed with the birth of Brandon T. Hill. 

Karl worked many corporate jobs, namely Ingalls Shipping Company, Alabama State Docks, WBLX Radio Station, Mobile Infirmary Hospital, Mutual Omaha Insurance Company, HITT House Records, and Williamson High School.  Though he felt grateful for all his work and employment experiences, Karl never felt that any of these work paths fully fulfilled his divine purpose of life. Therefore, he embraced his dreams and pursued measures to rekindle his yearning desire, beloved passion, and ultimate joy for music.  

Over the last 31 years, Karl refueled his fervor for and cherished devotion to music.  He mobilized many others along with him as he birthed his ministry of music by breeding a stunningly classy and desirable Jazz culture within the city of Mobile and surrounding areas. 

In the privacy of the 1327 homestead, Karl started and managed his very own hearMobile.net internet program. With the partnership of Rob Green, Karl visited, enlightened, and stimulated minds in every conceivable way. Karl was followed by 1,035 people. Wallace Upshaw, was also instrumental in Karl’s music career; together they worked to bring countless Jazz Concepts and Shows to the Mobile and Gulf Coast regions. Jazz events took place in venues such as the Skyview Lounge at the Holiday Inn, Elks Lounge, 158 in Saraland, the Via Center and other elegant locations. He worked with popular and renowned music artists such as Kyle Turner, Marcus Anderson, Michael Ward, Althea Renee and some many more. Karl and his dear friend Roland Cobb created a rich connection of talented musicians and formed Mobile’s widely known group called, “The Band.”

Throughout all his musical endeavors, nothing stopped him from lovingly caring, nurturing, and protecting his 101-year-old mother for many years. Indisputably he loved his music, his family, and his innumerable friends and love ones. The charming delight is that this same love was endearingly shown to Karl by everyone. 

Coupled with Karl’s love for music, was his strong and genuine love for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Every day the sun rose, Karl faithfully modeled his true loyalty, commitment, and love for his AA family, friends and lasting fellowship. Even during his illness, he repeatedly echoed his burning desire to get back to servicing and restoring lives in AA. He felt compelled to leave the same influential impact in AA as it renewed in his life.

The memories Karl desires you to remember most about him, is how much he loved his three most prized and cherished possessions of his life. Karl’s proudest and most honored legacy he holds dear to his heart is being the father of his queen daughter, Macenia; his king son, Brandon Taylor; and the grandfather of his king grandson, BJ. 

He leaves to cherish his memory: a wife, Autherine W. Hill; one deeply devoted daughter, Macenia J. Hill; one deeply devoted son, Brandon T. Hill; one devoted grandson, Brandon (BJ) Hill; one dedicated brother, James T. Hill; two step brothers, Fred Wesley, Jr., Ronald Wesley; one step sister, Janice W. Laneaux; one nephew, Kevin E. Hill; four devoted cousins, Leonard Tartt, Cheryl Griffin, Kathleen Carter and Janese Sanders; five devoted friends, Wallace Upshaw, Douglas Portis, Rob Green, DJ Shoemaker and Leon (Jug Head) Nettles; and a host of caring cousins, family and friends.