Marcus Shelby’s work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements and music education. In 1990, Marcus received the Charles Mingus Scholarship to attend Cal Arts to study composition with James Newton and bass with Charlie Haden. In 1999, his interest in composing for big band orchestra and his work in collaboration with the Bay Area multidisciplinary arts organization Intersection for the Arts led him to form the Marcus Shelby Orchestra. The Orchestra has released five recordings, three of which are comprised of Marcus Shelby’s original compositions: The Lights Suite (2001), Port Chicago (2006) and Harriet Tubman (2008).
Marcus has worked with a range of artists including Angela Y. Davis, Joanna Haigood, Margo Hall, the Oakland Ballet, the SF Girl Choir, The Oakland Youth Chorus and many other productions over the past 23 years. Currently, he is the artistic director of Healdsburg Jazz, an artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and a past resident artist with the San Francisco Jazz Festival.
Vocalist, composer, lyricist and Berkeley Law graduate Tiffany Austin is a 2023 SJZ Jazz Aid Fund grantee who combines the jazz tradition with a deep love for blues, spirituals and contemporary soul as well as a storyteller’s knack for narrative. She is currently the music director of the Healdsburg Freedom Jazz Choir, and a professor of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Roots, Jazz and American Music program. She’s performed internationally at storied venues including at both Birdland and Dizzy’s Den in NYC, Walt Disney Concert Hall in her native Los Angeles and the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. She has also performed in Australia, England, and Japan.
Nothing But Soul, Austin’s debut album from 2015, earned raves for its bold recasting of Hoagy Carmichael standards. Her sophomore album, Unbroken (2018), was hailed by All About Jazz as a “fully formed masterpiece.” Since releasing her first two albums, Austin has remained active on the live and commissioned artist scenes. She has performed with Pharoah Sanders in Los Angeles, Doug Carn at Summer Fest, and also launched the Con Alma Music Creative Intellect Scholarship for BIPOC high school students in 2021. In 2022, she was named a Yerba Buena Gardens Festival Seed Commissions Artist, received a Zoo Labs grant for her forthcoming live music series, and received a Jazzline Institute Bay Area Jazz and Blues Artist award.