In 1990, Marcus Shelby received the Charles Mingus Scholarship to attend Cal Arts and study composition with James Newton and bass with Charlie Haden. 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 and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. Shelby has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 2013 and has worked with the Equal Justice Society for over 20 years.
Shelby has composed several oratorios and suites, including Harriet Tubman, Beyond the Blues: A Prison Oratorio, Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Black Ball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues, Green and Blues, and a children’s opera Harriet’s Spirit, produced by Opera Parallele (2018). Shelby also composed the score and performed in Anna Deavere Smith’s Off-Broadway Play and HBO feature film Notes from the Field (2019). He is the voice of Ray Gardener in the 2020 Oscar-Winning Disney Pixar film SOUL. Shelby has also worked with a range of artists, including Angela Y. Davis’ Blues Legacies and Black Feminism (2019), Joanna Haigood’s Dying While Black and Brown (2014), Margo Hall’s Bebop Baby (2013) and Sonny’s Blues (2008), the Oakland Ballet’s Ella, The SF Girl Choir (2013), The Oakland Youth Chorus (2014), and many other productions over the past 23 years.
The Marcus Shelby Orchestra released their 5th CD, Transitions, in June 2019.
Dillon Vado is an active professional drummer and vibraphonist in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2012 Dillon transferred to the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree there in 2017. In 2014, Dillon won 1st place in the Jazz Search West competition on vibraphone, and in 2017 was also selected for the Buddy Montgomery Jazz Legacy Award through the California Jazz Conservatory.
He’s performed at South Bay venues Art Boutiki and Cafe Stritch, played marching snare drum with the Santa Clara Vanguard, and performed at such Bay Area venues as Freight and Salvage, Yoshi’s and the SFJAZZ Center. He’s performed at such festivals as the Fillmore Jazz Festval and San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, and played alongside Art Lande, Marcus Shelby, Hafez Modirzadeh, Royal Hartigan, Erik Jekabson, Jeff Denson, Alan Hall, and Marcos Silva.