There’s a lot of astounding information in this comprehensive profile of trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, “the reigning patriarch of Detroit jazz.” After touring with Ray Charles for years, and getting opportunities with Max Roach and Charles Mingus, Belgrave opted not to stick it out in New York like many musicians of his caliber. Instead, he chose Detroit, where he’s been since 1963.
Belgrave is still performing and recording, in spite of chronic lung disease which keeps him under oxygen all the time — and regularly lands him in the hospital. In fact, doctors have told him that practicing the trumpet so much has actually kept his lungs in working order.
What I find most interesting about this story, written by Detroit Free Press music writer Mark Stryker, is Belgrave’s legacy as a teacher. His students include Geri Allen, Kenny Garrett and Regina Carter, to name a few international-scale bandleaders. I think it sheds a little light on how jazz is and can be transmitted. Continue reading