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Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Transitions

Read "Transitions" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Although it is not alluded to anywhere, the centerpiece of San Francisco-based composer / bassist Marcus Shelby's latest big-band album, Transitions, is the evocative four-movement suite “Black Ball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues," which pays tribute to the all-black enterprises whose shining stars were barred from displaying their talents in the major baseball leagues until the great Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers and opened the floodgates in 1947. Shelby's picturesque charts, which traverse the ...

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Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read "Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." reviewed by Edward Blanco

A man with a deep social conscience and a fervent interest in social history, San Francisco bassist and band leader Marcus Shelby has previously used music to illuminate past injustices on Port Chicago (Noir Records, 2006), and then again with Harriet Tubman (Noir Records, 2008). On Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Shelby once again tackles another large-scale project of social and spiritual significance expressed through his creative musical interpretations.For Shelby, the inspiration ...

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Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read "Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." reviewed by Bruce Lindsay

Soul Of The Movement: Meditations On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is a beautiful album. Bassist, composer and arranger Marcus Shelby was inspired to put the album together by his study of the Civil Rights Movement and, in the combining of his own original compositions with spirituals and tunes associated with the movement, he has created a most affecting and uplifting recording, performed with passion by the superb 15-piece Marcus Shelby Orchestra. Shelby's own compositions take their ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Marcus Shelby Orchestra Plays the Douglas Beach House, Half Moon Bay California

Read "The Marcus Shelby Orchestra Plays the Douglas Beach House, Half Moon Bay California" reviewed by Bill Leikam

Marcus ShelbyDouglas Beach HouseSan FranciscoNovember 15, 2009Fifteen jazz musicians gathered onstage at the Douglas Beach House (home to the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society) November 15 to perform numbers from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn as well as original compositions by the orchestra's band leader, Marcus Shelby. The compositions were part of the yet-to-be-completed series of tunes inspired by the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement. Not only did ...

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Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra: Harriet Tubman

Read "Harriet Tubman" reviewed by Budd Kopman

Bassist, librettist, composer, and conductor Marcus Shelby has created with the jazz oratorio and double CD Harriet Tubman, a work that ought to have a place of honor in the intersecting worlds of jazz and American Black history. Performed exquisitely by the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, with vocals mostly by Faye Carol as Harriet Tubman, but also by drummer Kenny Washington, Jeannine Anderson, and Joseph Mace, Tubman's story is brought to life in music and words. Basing ...

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Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra: Harriet Tubman

Read "Harriet Tubman" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Harriet Tubman is an ambitious jazz opera, largely composed and arranged by bassist Marcus Shelby for his Jazz Orchestra. Shelby was a member of Black/Note, an ensemble that recorded for Blue Note and Impulse! during the first half of the 1990s.

The biographical heroine of this effort is the 18th-century woman who rose from slavery to become a freedom fighter, and later, a civil rights activist. Tubman has been universally recognized as one of the most inspirational African-Americans. Marcus Shelby, ...

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Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra featuring Faye Carol: Harriet Tubman

Read "Harriet Tubman" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Bay Area bassist and orchestra leader Marcus Shelby conducts his jazz oratorio based on the life of legendary Underground Railroad heroine, Harriet Tubman. Her story doesn't lack for pathos or drama--either in its broad outline or in the smaller details. For example, while she was a teenaged slave, an overseer threw an iron weight at her head, nearly killing her and rendering her subject to seizures for the rest of her life.As much as the recording might evoke ...

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Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra: Port Chicago

Read "Port Chicago" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Are you aware of Port Chicago, and do you know what happened there more than sixty years ago? Chances are you don't, as it's not something American history books will likely mention or military recruiters point to with pride. In brief: on July 17, 1944, a massive explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Base (near Oakland, California) killed more than 320 men, most of them African-American sailors, and injured some 400 others, by far the worst disaster on US soil ...

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The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra: The Lights Suite

Read "The Lights Suite" reviewed by Jack Bowers

A brief preamble: while spending last Thanksgiving with my wife's sister and her family in Palo Alto, CA, I had the radio tuned to KCSM-FM in San Mateo (a 24-hour Jazz station, naturally) whose weekday noontime feature is an album played in its entirety without interruption. On this particular day the album chosen was by a group I'd not heard before, the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra. After listening for a few moments I thought to myself, “I've gotta get a ...


Summertime Magic

Statik Link captures the sound of Soul and Jazz that was popular in the 1970s with a modern twist. The trumpet, saxophones, and drums were recorded with vintage microphones for a tone like no other.

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