Jazz Currents Salute to Marcus Belgrave

Sep 26, 2015

Marcus Belgrave
Credit marcusbelgrave.net

Trumpeter Marcus Belgrave was born in 1936 in Chesterton PA.  His first big break was touring and recording with Ray Charles in 1954.  In the early 60's, after 5 years with Ray Charles, Belgrave moved to NYC and worked with jazz innovators including Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Max Roach and Yusef Lateef.  In 1963, Belgrave moved to Detroit to work with many of the well-known jazz musicians there and also joined the staff at Motown Records.

Marcus recorded numerous hits with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokie Robinson and Martha and the Vandellas.  Belgrave soon became a versatile performer and played avant-garde, traditional New Orleans jazz, blues, fusion and ragtime.  He also performed with Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dizzy Gillespie.

Marcus Belgrave was known for his unmistakable performance style and through this, became a huge promoter for Detroit jazz.  His influence as a teacher has made a huge impact on Detroit and some of his students have become leaders in the world of jazz.  Marcus Belgrave sadly passed away in May of 2015 at the age of 78, but he has left a musical legacy for all to enjoy.

Music:

1.      Alexander's Ragtime Band (Irving Berlin) from Ray Charles' The Genius of Ray Charles

2.      Dancing In The Street (William "Mickey" Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter and Marvin Gaye) from Martha and the Vandellas' Dance Party

3.      Glue Fingers (Marcus Belgrave) from Marcus Belgrave's Gemini II

4.      Big Queen (Bob Hurst) from Bob Hurst's Bob-A Palindrome

5.      The Smart Set (Roy Brooks) from Geri Allen's Grand River Crossings

6.      Mean What You Say (Thad Jones) from Marcus Belgrave's Live at Kerrytown Concert House

7.      Total Jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) from Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's Portraits by Ellington  

8.      The Song Is You (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II) from Marcus Belgrave's Duets with Friends

9.      Hello Dolly (Jerry Herman) from Marcus Belgrave's A Tribute to Louis Armstrong