Sunday, May 24, 2015

R.I.P.: Marcus Belgrave (1936-2015)

Beloved trumpeter Marcus Belgrave (June 12, 1936 – May 24, 2015) died today, May 24, at age 78 in Ann Arbor, Mich, of heart failure, after being hospitalized since April with complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. Marcus Belgrave was tutored by Clifford Brown before joining the Ray Charles touring band.

Born in Chester, Pennsylvania, Belgrave was a world-class trumpeter whose A-list resumé included a long tenure with Ray Charles in the 1950s and early '60s and associations with jazz royalty like Max Roach and Charles Mingus. Ultimately, however, Belgrave's greatest contribution was the remarkable honor roll of his former students who graduated to leading roles on the national scene — including pianist Geri Allen, bassists Rodney Whitaker and Robert Hurst, alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, violinist Regina Carter, and drummers Karriem Riggins, Ali Jackson and Gerald Cleaver.

Belgrave was a frequent faculty member at Stanford Jazz Workshop and a visiting professor of jazz trumpet at the Oberlin Conservatory. Rest in Peace.

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