R.I.P. Marcus Belgrave


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Detroit jazz patriarch Marcus Belgrave passed today of heart failure at age 78. Belgrave was a mainstay on Detroit’s jazz scene for decades mentoring jazz stars like James Carter, Geri Allen, Karriem Riggins, Regina Carter, Rodney Whitaker, Kenny Garrett, Carlos McKinney and Robert Hurst. Belgrave, who was a trumpeter, came from a musical family and started playing professionally at age 12. He studied under bebop trumpet star Clifford Brown and then later worked with Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Charles Mingus and Aretha Franklin. Belgrave was born in Chester, Pennsylvania and relocated to Detroit in 1962 and became a studio musician for Motown. He created his Jazz Development Workshop in the ’70’s and began his long-term impact on jazz musicians in Detroit. In 1988 he became an original member of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra. Belgrave taught jazz at Stanford, Oberlin, University of California and Michigan State University. In the ’70’s he started recording as a leader for the Detroit indie label Tribe and he released more music on his own Jazz Musicians Co-op label in the ’90’s. Belgrave had been ill with heart problems but was recovering and preparing to play Detroit’s Concert Of Colors.