Marcus Belgrave receives $50,000 Kresge arts award


Former Ray Charles trumpet player Marcus Belgrave relocated to Detroit in the days of the Motown assembly line. And since then he has, arguably, become the face of serious, deeply rooted jazz in Detroit. Belgrave -- whom one bandleader dubbed "Serious Bell" -- is known as a bandleader, performer and mentor to myriad younger performers, both in the classroom and on the bandstand. Thursday the Kresge Arts in Detroit program recognized Belgrave’s contributions with a $50,000* eminent artist award for his lifetime of contributions to the metropolitan Detroit community. Check out our past article on how this musician from Chester, Penn., became Detroit’s Mr. Jazz, and a blog post about his Ray Charles days.

The Kresge Arts in Detroit program, which also awards 18 annual fellowships of $25,000, is an effort to spur “the creative vitality of the region.”

(*And earlier version of this posting inadvertently added an extra zero to Marcus' award. Kresge is boosting artists, but not actually sending them into orbit.)