Coming into prominence as a teenaged sensation in the Ray Charles Orchestra, Marcus Belgrave has become an internationally recognized jazz trumpet virtuoso. Born in Chester, PA, Marcus has lived in Detroit most of his life. Appointed the "Jazz Master Laureate" for the City of Detroit in 2008. At the request of Wynton Marsalis, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he represented Detroit as part of the Lincoln Center Motor City Jazz Masters tribute. A tribute which also Included jazz legends Yusef Lateef, Curtis Fuller, Charles McPherson, and Ron Carter.
A true Renaissance man, there isn’t much this musical legend has not done. He is a trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, recording artist and producer.
He is a professor of music at Oberlin University, in Oberlin Ohio, is the co-founder of the Jazz Studies Program at the Detroit Metro Arts Complex and the Jazz Development Workshop in Detroit. His career as a player has intersected with an unparalleled variety of musicians across musical generations including Ray Charles (with whom he collaborated extensively) Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner, Dizzy Gillespie, Eric Dolphy, Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis and Joe Henderson. He has mentored and Recorded with pianist Geri Allen, bassist Bob Hurst alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and percussionist/composer Lawrence Williams. This only scratches the surface of his musical collaborations.
His community involvement is exemplary. He considers it his personal responsibility to groom and enlighten the next generation of musicians. He happily takes the time to provide joy and music to countless community retirement centers all over the metro Detroit area. His giving ways have endeared him to countless, both young and old.
The collective impact of Belgrave’s mind, music and vision is felt across the spectrum of identities for which he has become rightfully recognized both within and outside of the jazz community. His tribute to Louis Armstrong is unparalleled and is enthusiastically received by audiences all over the globe. . As a singer, Marcus is blessed with a natural low and gravelly voice… so his “Satchmo-like” vocalizing comes off evoking the Armstrong sound, spirit and warmth with uncanny ease. His CD “Tribute to Louis Armstrong” was accepted for inclusion as part of the official Louis Armstrong House and Archives at Queens College, flushing, New York. His CD Tribute to New Orleans, Ray Charles & The Great Ladies of Song, highlight his collaborative side as he has fun with the music in duets and shows the audience a bit of the New Orleans spirit which produced such great music.. He currently also tours (as a special guest) with the Historic New Orleans Preservation Hall Band.
CHARLIE GABRIEL (tenor sax, clarinet, flute, vocals) was born in 1932 in New Orleans into a family with a musical tradition going back four generations – preceding the founding of jazz! As a boy, Charlie played with such New Orleans legends as the Eureka Brass Band, Kid Shiek, and George Lewis. As a sixteen year old, he toured in the Lionel Hampton “Junior Beboppers “ensemble. Moving to Detroit in the 1950’s, Charlie co-led the Gabriel Brothers Traditional New Orleans Jazz Band for many years. He also worked regularly with Aretha Franklin’s orchestra, as well as with Nancy Wilson in the 1970’s. As well as today touring with the renowned New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Charlie continues to tour and record, playing at festivals in, Frankfurt, Singapore, Switzerland, Germany and other countries, His duet CD with Red Richards won the prize of the “hot club de France” for best foreign album of the year
JOAN BOW-BELGRAVE (vocalist, producer, songwriter) was born in Ann Arbor, MI Joan, began her musical career like so many others, singing in the choir of the Baptist church. While her gospel roots run deep, her study of classical voice with Univ. of Michigan’s renowned tenor Willis Paterson trained her for versatility and allowed her to perform in various genres of music from Jazz, Blues, and Gospel to Soul. Joan arrived in Los Angeles from Michigan in the late 70’s performing primarily as a lead vocalist. She has her own powerful jazzy/blues style, and lists Billie Holiday as her influence. Her solo CD “Variations” showcases all of this and more. She performs on & co-produced the CD “You Don’t Know Me”- Marcus Belgrave’s tribute to New Orleans, Ray Charles and the Great Ladies of Song. Joan is a touring Lead Vocalist with Marcus Belgrave’s Jazz Ensembles, as well as a lead vocalist with Charlie Gabriel’s Jazz Ensemble. Dazzling Audiences with performances at Detroit’s, Legendary Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Cliff Bells, Sold out performance at Detroit’s Player’s Playhouse Theatre. Performing with Marcus Belgrave at Chicago’s Andy’s Jazz Club, The Toronto Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Huntsville, Ontario Jazz Festival, and with Hammond B3 artist Tony Monaco, at Kerrytown Concert House. Whether she is performing with a traditional big band, or her small ensemble of skilled musicians, you will find yourself transported on a musical journey from the 30’s to the present, including sweet love songs, sorrowful blues, and swinging beats