Detroit and the world shall never sound the same. Marcus Belgrave, 2009 Kresge Arts Eminent Fellow, master of trumpet and the musical arts, died early Sunday, May 24, at hospital in Ann Arbor. He had been undergoing treatment for heart and lung ailments. Mr. Belgrave is survived by his wife, Joan Belgrave, two sons, and two daughters.
Mr. Belgrave played with a Who’s Who of jazz greats, including Ray Charles, Yusef Lateef, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. An educator for generations of Detroit musicians, Mr. Belgrave also served as a mentor to many of today’s jazz superstars, including Wynton Marsalis, Rodney Whitaker, Kenny Garrett, and Regina Carter. What’s more, he served many good causes when called to help the less fortunate, tirelessly and without fanfare.
Barbara Barefield, Detroit photographer and friend of jazz and classical music nonpareil, has created images that capture moments made with Marcus Belgrave and friends over the years.
Joan and Marcus Belgrave at The Carr Center concert with Kirk Lightsey in June 2010. Photo by © Barbara Barefield.
Mother’s Day Concert at Burt’s Marketplace with Marcus, U.S. Congressman John Conyers and Charlie Gabriel. Photo by © Barbara Barefield.
Marcus Belgrave at ArtX event at MOCAD. Photo by © Barbara Barefield.
Marcus Belgrave and the Paradise Theatre Orchestra at Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall/Paradise Theatre, late 1970s. Photo by © Barbara Barefield.
Detroit Jazz Masters at Museum of African American History. L-R: Teddy Harris, Marcus Belgrave, Harold McKinney, Roy Brooks, Wendell Harrison. Photo by © Barbara Barefield.
Marcus Belgrave, mid-1970s. Photo by © Barbara Barefield.
Marcus Belgrave and the Paradise Theatre Orchestra at Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall/Paradise Theatre, late 1970s. Geri Allen on the piano. Photo by © Barbara Barefield.
Rehearsal for Creative Music at the DIA concert series. Backrow L-R: Marcus Belgrave, Hugh Ragin, Geri Allen, Tani Tabbal, A. Spencer Barefield, Jaribu Shahid. Front row: Douglas Ewart, Tony Holland, Roscoe Mitchell, Faruq Z. Bey, Gerald Savage, ?, Ed Gooch. Early 1980s at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Photo by © Barbara Barefield.
From the Kresge Arts Foundation in 2009:
Each year, the Kresge Eminent Artist Award recognizes a metropolitan Detroit artist whose work and career exemplify sustained, outstanding achievement and a commitment to sharing that work within the local community. Eminence is apparent when it comes to the recipient, Marcus Belgrave. This internationally recognized trumpeter, who long ago chose Detroit as his home, is an icon to musicians and lovers of jazz. After more than five decades, his tireless work, amazing technical abilities, and the joy and spontaneity with which he creates distinguishes him worldwide as an admired and respected jazz master. By spreading the language of jazz to generations of students, he has remained a beloved mentor to young musicians, many of whom have gone on to become great artists themselves. It is this kind of energy, dedication and virtuosity that the award applauds, and Kresge Arts in Detroit is honored to name Marcus Belgrave as its second Eminent Artist.
These images help us remember the times and people with whom Marcus Belgrave performed. We will always know a true friend through his music.
Detroit Public Television Channel 56 profiled Marcus Belgrave and photographer Bill Rauhauser in a special program, Marcus Belgrave Remembered. The two were honored as Kresge Eminent Artists and featured in recent Art X Detroit programs. The program includes a 2014 live performance by Marcus Belgrave and Friends at The Carr Center, an event photographed by Bill Rauhauser, as well as discussions with the artists moderated by journalist Kim Heron. To enjoy a remarkable program, click here.