Marcus Belgrave, the jazz trumpeter who played on iconic hits like “My Girl,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and “Dancing in the Streets” passed away at the age of 78 on Sunday due to heart failure.
Hazelette Crosby-Robinson, a cousin of Belgrave’s wife Joan Belgrave, confirmed the sad news and said that Belgrave was at an Ann Arbor care facility when he passed.
While his name may not be considered a household one, his sound helped many music legends make the hits that are so immediately recognizable today. Belgrave’s sound can be found intricately intertwined in the works of artists like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillepsie, Joe Crocker and many more.
Everything about Belgrave’s career was truly remarkable.
He was only 12 when he started playing professionally and joined the Ray Charles Band in the late 1950s. From that point forward, he remained an active part of the jazz scene in Detroit and across the globe up until he passed away.
In 1988 he became one of the original members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at the request of Wynton Marsalis.
For years he continued to be a prevalent part of the music scene and in 2006 he was featured at the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s presentation Detroit: Motor City Jazz, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Three years later he received yet another honor, the Kresge Foundation’s Eminent Artist award.
Kresge President and CEO Rip Rapson released a public statement about the tragic news and added that losing Belgrave means the entire city of Detroit has “lost a piece of its soul.”