In the late 1960s and ’70s, Hawkins played bass with legends such as The Miles Davis Quintet, Shirley Horn and Roberta Flack before forming his own quintet.
In 1978, Marshall moved to Idyllwild, California, home of the internationally famous high school for the arts. In 1986, he founded the Jazz program at the Idyllwild Arts Academy, serving as the head of the Jazz Department until his retirement. The Idyllwild Arts Jazz program has earned top honors the prestigious Berklee School of Music High School Jazz Festival. In addition to teaching Jazz as an art form, Marshall has mentored hundreds of talented young people who he still considers to be "his kids."
Being well aware of the numbers of talented young people who cannot afford to attend a private high school for the arts, Marshall saw the need to raise scholarship funds for deserving young musicians. In 1994, Marshall co-founded the enormously successful Jazz in the Pines Festival and served as its Music Director for over 20 years.
Marshall is deeply committed to teaching and exposing school children to the uniquely American art form of Jazz. In 2002, he organized the Seahawk Modern Jazz Orchestra (MOJO) and brings unforgettable Jazz and educational programs to elementary and secondary schools. This orchestra also gives Marshall's former students an opportunity to play with an amazing group of musicians and guest artists.
“That’s what makes it so unique,” Hawkins said. “The students are able to come back and play with the teachers. Any other group can come join the orchestra, too.” He added there can be as few as seven people and as many as 35, but each performance exposes the kids to connections between music and society.
Hawkins said the program is not meant to turn all kids into professional musicians but to make them cognizant of how important art is in their lives. This message is not only for “his Kids” but for the rest of us as well.