The Recording Academy played host to GRAMMYs On The Road at the Detroit Jazz Festival on Aug. 31 – Sept. 3 in downtown Detroit. GRAMMY.com conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including trumpeter Marcus Belgrave and saxist/composer Donald Harrison.
Belgrave discussed discovering his love for music, moving to Detroit and the importance of music, among other topics.
"Everyone in the world should play music, even if they don't intend to make a living of it," said Belgrave."The driving force of music is tantamount to life."
Born in Chester, Pa., Belgrave emerged in the late '50s touring and recording as part of the Ray Charles Orchestra. Throughout the '60s, Belgrave was a leading proponent in the modern jazz movement in New York and recorded with artists including Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus and Max Roach, among others. In 1963 he relocated to Detroit where he worked as a staff trumpeter at Motown Records. In honor of his more than four decades of service to the Detroit music community, the city named him the official Jazz Master Laureate. As a musical educator, Belgrave has mentored artists such as pianist Geri Allen, violinist Regina Carter, bassist Robert Hurst and saxist Kenny Garrett, among others.
Harrison discussed his music education, his contributions to the TV series "Treme" and what he hopes to accomplish in the future as a musician.
"Art Blakey, one of the greatest philosophers in my estimation, said, 'Music washes away the dust of everyday life,'" said Harrison. "I think that's very true, so that's what I'm trying to do."
Harrison was born in New Orleans and attended the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts where he studied with pianist Ellis Marsalis. He subsequently attended the Berklee College of Music. Among the artists he has recorded with include Terence Blanchard, with whom Harrison recorded five albums, including New York Second Line (1984), Nascence (1986) and Black Pearl (1988). In 1993 he released the solo album, Nouveau Swing, earning him the title the King of Nouveau Swing. In 2010 Harrison became an occasional member of the cast of "Treme" and his music is featured on the soundtrack. His most recent release is 2011's This Is Jazz: Live At The Blue Note.
Come back tomorrow for more GRAMMYs On The Road at Detroit Jazz Festival coverage.