Born in Detroit, MI, a crucible of jazz, Marion Hayden is one of the nation’s finest proponents of the acoustic bass. Mentored by master trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, Hayden began performing jazz at the age of 15. She has performed with such diverse luminaries as Bobby McFerrin, Nancy Wilson, Geri Allen, Regina Carter, Steve Turre, Lester Bowie, David Allen Grier, James Carter, Dorothy Donegan, Joe Williams, Lionel Hampton, Frank Morgan, Jon Hendricks, Hank Jones, Bobby Hutcherson, Larry Willis, Vanessa Rubin, Sheila Jordan, Mulgrew Miller, Annie Ross and many others. She is a co-founder of the touring jazz ensemble Straight Ahead- the first all woman jazz ensemble signed to Atlantic Records. She is a member of the Detroit International Jazz Festival All-Star Ambassadors touring ensemble.
Widely recognized as a standard bearer of culture and artistic history, Hayden received a 2019 Art X Grant and a Creators of Culture Grant for original musical works. She was Artistic Director for a 2018 Knight Arts Foundation Grant encouraging young women in jazz. In 2016 Hayden was honored for her work as a performer and educator with the prestigious Kresge Artist Fellowship- a 1 year fellowship and grant award given an elite group of creative artists. She was the recipient of a 2016 Jazz Hero Award.- a national award given by the Jazz Journalists Association- recognizing people who have made a significant contribution through their artistry and community engagement.View More...
As an arts advocate, Hayden has served as Grant Panelist for the Detroit Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, Art-Ops and the Highland Park Cultural Commission. She also serves as panelist or consultant for South Arts, Detroit Sound Conservancy, Charles Wright Museum of African American History, the Kresge Foundation, Jazz Education Network and Societie of the Culturally Concerned.
A passionate advocate for youth music education, Hayden teaches for Michigan State Univ. Community Music School Detroit and is an educator in residence for the Detroit Jazz Festival. As well, she conducts the Next Gen Ensemble- a performing group of some of the areas best young musicians. Hayden holds faculty positions in the Jazz Studies Departments at University of Michigan and Oakland University. Hayden is the Bass instructor for the Geri Allen Jazz Camp, Newark, NJ. , and in 2021 will join the faculty at Centrum Jazz, Port Townsend, WA.
In her own words:
"It has been a privilege and a gift to learn and experience music in Detroit. The informal music education here is both thorough and rigorous and includes arranging, composing and production. The mentoring I received from the men and women in this music community was critical to my development as a creative artist. It instilled in me a sense of deep reverence and respect for music traditions, but also a fearlessness and openness about bringing those traditions forward in an original and authentic way. I express this creative openness through the projects and collaborations I engage in."
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"Wow, can this woman play!"Jessica Williams, Jazz Pianist