Tickets ($15 - $75)
In 1960, at the urging of Billy Strayhorn, the Duke Ellington Orchestra recorded The Nutcracker Suite (Columbia), a brilliant jazz interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s music. While largely forgotten today, the popular album marked a watershed in one of American music’s most consequent and productive partnerships, as Ellington gave Strayhorn equal billing for the first time on the album’s cover. For bassist, composer, and arranger Marcus Shelby, Ellington and Strayhorn’s Nutcracker Suite arrangements offer an ideal vehicle for his talent-laden jazz orchestra, an ensemble he modeled after Ellington’s. Reveling in Tchaikovsky’s enduring melodies, Shelby’s band breathes new life into a singular cultural fusion that gracefully marries the great Russian composer with the orchestral language of two nonpareil jazz innovators.
Marcus Anthony Shelby is a bandleader, composer, arranger, bassist, educator, and activist. Over the past 25+ years his work and music has focused on sharing the history, present, and future of African American lives, on social movements in the United States, and on early childhood music education.
Shelby is active in music education and currently teaches at The Community Music Center, Old Adobe Elementary School, St. Paul's Middle School, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Shelby has also led many of the SFJAZZ Family Matinee Concerts. Shelby serves on the San Francisco Arts Commission's Community Arts Grants and Education Committee and the Street Artists Committee. In 2013 with help from a grant from the James Irvine Foundation, Marcus and Healdsburg Jazz christened the Healdsburg Jazz Freedom Jazz Choir under his and Tiffany Austin's direction.
About Tiffany Austin:
Vocalist Tiffany Austin’s tradition-rooted yet totally modern style has established her as one of the fastest rising jazz stars in Northern California. Before earning a law degree at U.C. Berkeley, she’d performed on three continents—around her native Los Angeles, in England, and in Tokyo.
Austin’s music and voice draw upon influences such as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Aretha Franklin, yet she also infuses songs with her own signature style that is precise, intelligent, and soulful. In fact, her arrangements vary from classic swing to contemporary R&B à la Robert Glasper or Jose James. Her emotional and nuanced delivery has caught the attention of eminent artists, whom she has joined onstage: vibraphonist Roy Ayers at Motion Blue (Japan), drummer Tommy Campbell at the Blue Note (NYC), and saxophonist John Handy.
About Kenny Washington:
Dubbed "the Superman of the Bay Area jazz scene" by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kenny Washington is a jazz virtuoso who thrills audiences with his soulful interpretations, seemingly limitless range, and rapid-fire scatting. Ravi Coltrane has declared Kenny his favorite male vocalist, and Mark Murphy said that Kenny was the only contemporary male vocalist carrying on the tradition. Kenny has performed and/or recorded with Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Roberta Gambarini, Karrin Allyson, Gregory Porter, Louie Bellson, Wycliffe Gordon, Jon Hendricks, Nancy King, Elvis Costello, Jason and Delfeayo Marsalis, Joe Locke, Geoffrey Keezer, George Mraz, Clarence Penn, John Handy, John Santos, the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, The Michael O'Neill Quintet, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra and the Slammin' All Body Band as well as countless other fine musicians around the world.