Marcus Belgrave: Preserver of Jazz
AAJ: How do you balance the two roles of musician and educator today?
MB: I stopped playing in nightclubs in 1996. I couldn't take the smoking anymore. By 1998, I embarked on another situation to do a tribute to Louis Armstrong. So I ended up being able to play at concert halls instead of juke joints. So that was a great thing. And then my teaching career started at Oberlin in 1999. I had worked there until 2009. I'm kind of retired now. But my wife and I have a project called "Marcus and Joan" or "Joan and Marcus." And we travel all over the country. Right now, I've been doing a study on Horace Silver's music, which is going to be at the [2012 Detroit Jazz] festival; we're doing a tribute to him with Louis Hayes, who was his drummer, and [trombonist] Curtis Fuller, who's also a mainstay Detroiter. So my coming here to Detroit was lifesaving to me and I imagine uplifting to another couple of generations of great young musicians.
Marcus Belgrave / Charlie Gabriel / Joan Belgrave, Marcus, Charlie & Joan...Once Again (Detroit Jazzians Coop, 2009)
Marcus Belgrave, Tribute to Louis Armstrong (WJS, 2008)
Marcus Belgrave / Eddie Henderson / Javon Jackson / Ron Carter, Hub Art: A Celebration of the Music of Freddie Hubbard (Hip Bop, 1996)
Marcus Belgrave, Live at Kerrytown Concert House (Detroit Jazzians Coop / DJM Records, 1995)
Marcus Belgrave, Working Together (DJMC, 1992)
Marcus Belgrave, Gemini II (DJMC, 1975)
Marcus Belgrave, Gemini (Soul Jazz, 1974)
Ray Charles, The Genius of Ray Charles (Atlantic, 1959)
All Photos: Clyde Stringer