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Music legend Marcus Belgrave to be honored with street name

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Marcus Belgrave blew his horn for more than 50 years as a dean of the Detroit jazz scene.

Starting Thursday, Aug. 29, people will be able to blow their horns as well -- on Marcus Belgrave Drive.

A downtown Detroit street block on Randolph Street at Madison Avenue, perpendicular to Aretha Franklin Boulevard, will be renamed to honor the trumpet legend, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 78. Born in Pennsylvania, Belgrave was taught by Clifford Brown before joining Ray Charles touring band. Moving to Detroit during the early 1960s he recorded for Motown Records and built a resume that included working with Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., John Sinclair, electronic artist Carl Craig and his wife, singer Joan Belgrave, among others.

Belgrave was also an educator at a number of schools, including Oakland University, Wayne State University and Michigan State University, as well as Detroitís Carr Center and in public schools around the metro area. Belgrave's students included Geri Allen, James Carter, Regina Carter, Karriem Riggins, Rodney Whitaker and Kenny Garrett, among others.

Belgrave was inducted into the Detroit Jazz Hall of Fame and the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame and also received a Distinguished Achievement honor from the Detroit Music Awards. His 1974 album "Gemini II," remastered by Carl Craig, will be re-released by Detroit's Third Man Records in time for the 40th Annual Detroit Jazz Festival this weekend.

In a statement, Joan Belgrave -- who worked for two years to have the street named for her husband -- said that, "Marcus' legacy is phenomenal. It reaches so far and so wide. I can't go anywhere without someone telling me that he taught them, that he helped them, that he influenced them...This is something permanent that will be here forever in the city of Detroit that he loved."

The Marcus Belgrave Drive street signs will be unveiled during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Thursday.

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