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. He was appointd the Official "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 has happily taken 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.