Artistic Director/Education Director: Marcus Shelby
Born in February 1966, Marcus Shelby has been playing the acoustic bass for 23 years. In this time, he has built a diverse and accomplished biography. Shelby was bandleader of Columbia Records and GRP Impulse! Recording Artists Black/Note and is currently the Artistic Director and leader of The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, The Marcus Shelby Septet and the Marcus Shelby Trio. In addition, Shelby holds an instructor position at the Berkeley Young Musician Program, San Francisco State University and the Stanford Jazz Workshop and is the 2006 Fellow in the Resident Dialogues Program of the Committee for Black Performing Arts at Stanford University. As the 1991 winner of the Charles Mingus Scholarship, Shelby’s studies include work under the tutelage of composer James Newton and legendary bassist Charlie Haden. Recent honors include the City Flight Magazine 2005 award as one of the “Top Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area”.
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Executive Director/Project Director: Kate Dumbleton
Kate Dumbleton has been working in the San Francisco arts scene in various capacities since 1994. In addition to owning her own art exhibition and performance space and cafe, Cafe Royale, Kate's experiences include music direction and programming for jazz clubs, curating and direction of artist residencies for nonprofit arts organizations, project and production direction, venue management, executive direction and artist managment. Kate is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Art History, Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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Kate Dumbleton, producer for 'Port Chicago' and executive director of MSJO observes from the recording booth.
June 23, 2005. photographer Rodolfo Jones

Jazz is an essential component of American socio-political and creative history. Its future is dependent on a broad commitment to exploring its roots and social impact, on interpreting and teaching the work of creative masters, and on creating opportunities for composing new work.

As an organization, the MSJO is dedicated both to exploring the great American art forms of Jazz composition and performance, and to building on those traditions. Specifically, MSJO is committed to ensuring that audiences and students alike are exposed on many levels to jazz of all kinds-to the work of the architects of jazz composition, such as
Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Count Basie, as well as to that of contemporary composers-so that they can actively engage the riches of the past, appreciate the context for the present, and consider the building blocks of the future.

Our vision is to ensure that the riches and cultural impact of the Jazz tradition will always be part of the larger discussion of American art.

What MSJO Does:
MSJO explores jazz composition primarily thru commissions to Marcus Shelby to composer for The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra. Commissions may include multidisciplinary collaborations with artists and arts organizations- dance companies, performance groups, writers- or may be straightforward commission for the composition of new work. Commissions may also include composition for formats other than a jazz orchestra such as film scores, smaller ensemble composition or new arrangements of existing jazz compositions for voice or ensemble/orchestra.

The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra has an extensive performance repertoire, which includes work by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charles Mingus and original compositions by Marcus Shelby and other orchestra members. The orchestra performs at a range of venues from clubs and schools to formal presenting environments.

Educational Programming:
MSJO is dedicated to education in a variety of capacities. Capabilities include curriculum design and/or consulting and teaching for music programs (all ages), artist talks in formal or alternative environments, musical arrangements for music students, educational performance programs, orchestration, private lessons and multidisciplinary educational programs.

Commissioned Projects 2005-2006:
“Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land”: The Creative Work Fund for New Work in collaboration with Yerba Buena Garden Festival and the Museum of the African Diaspora
Marcus Shelby has received the Creative Work Fund from the Haas Foundation to compose a new work based on the life of Harriet Tubman, a great American hero. Shelby will compose an Oratorio for Jazz Orchestra which is a composition for orchestra and voice and will feature the MSJO and vocalists. Ongoing Fall 2005-Fall 2007

“Ella”: Commissioned by the Oakland Ballet in collaboration with choreographer Donald McKayle. Marcus Shelby received a commission from the Oakland Ballet to arrange a ballet suite called "Ella" based on the musical magic of jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald. Shelby worked with choreographer and teacher Donald McKayle and jazz vocalist Ledisi to bring this work to life.
The Oakland Ballet presented their 40th year anniversary season in fall 2005; "Ella" was one of 2 premiere works on the program. Fall 2005

"Port Chicago": "Port Chicago" is a suite for jazz orchestra. This composition has 2 acts written in 15 parts. It was commissioned by the Equal Justice Society in 2002 and completed in July 2004. The premier of Port Chicago was premiered at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland on July 31, 2004 and performed by the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra. Port Chicago is based on the libretto written by Val Hendrickson, based on the book "Port Chicago Mutiny" written by Dr. Robert Allen.

Copyright 2006-2008, Marcus Shelby, all rights reserved.
For permission to use photographs please contact Scott Chernis.