Ann Arbor, MI Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye. Those are some of the big names of Detroit music. But another name worthy of top billing is trumpeter Marcus Belgrave. He's been a fixture in the Detroit scene for decades, and has covered everything from avant-garde to jazz standards. He even played on some of Motown's greatest hits.
Belgrave was recently honored by the Kresge Foundation as their Detroit Eminent Artist of the year. We sat down with the jazz trumpeter to talk about his life in music.
"This is Marcus Belgrave, eminent artist award for the year. I'm very excited about this award because it chronicles my life in Detroit for the last 40 years.
"The trumpet is a strange animal. What has kept me is my knowledge of how to pace myself. A very demanding instrument, it demands great lungs for one thing.
"I've always had this, problem, this bronchial problem. It demanded that I stay somewhere. Detroit was just like a savior for me in many ways. I got the chance to do what I like to do, to teach young people and I got a chance to work with Motown where I didn't have to be on the road and I was doing quite well.
"But like I said, with Motown, they utilized the jazz musicians because they were the most creative. I still get royalties from "The Way You Do the Things You Do."
"If I can reach out and touch some young people and bring them into the fold of listening and hearing and feeling and being able to interact with the music of the real. If I can continue to reap that from young people, I'd be satisfied."
Marcus Belgrave is the 2009 Kresge Eminent Artist. The 2008 winner was Charles McGee.
- Paul Farber, Michigan Radio Newsroom