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.