Marcus Shelby Orchestra: Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite
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Marcus Shelby Orchestra
Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite

Marcus Shelby Orchestra

w/ Tiffany Austin & Kenny Washington

DEC 20–23 | HOLIDAYS AT SFJAZZ

Dec 20
Miner Auditorium

It’s a short walk from the SFJAZZ Center to the War Memorial Opera House, which is where the evening-length ballet The Nutcracker made its North America premiere in the winter of 1944. An immediate sensation, the production unleashed an army of Nutcrackers large and small that march across the country come the holidays, turning Tchaikovsky’s spirited score into an enchanting soundtrack for the season. 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.

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Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s Nutcracker Suite arrangements offer an ideal vehicle for Shelby’s talent-laden jazz orchestra, an ensemble he modeled after Ellington’s.

Marcus Shelby illuminates history through jazz.

SF Chronicle

Marcus Shelby illuminates history through jazz.

SF Chronicle

Personnel

Marcus Shelby conductor
Kristen Strom
 alto saxophone & flute
Tom Griesser alto saxophone & clarinet
Patrick Wolff tenor saxophone & clarinet
Danny Brown tenor saxophone & clarinet
Fil Lorenz baritone saxophone
Joel Behrman trombone
Rob Ewing trombone
Patrick Malabuyo trombone
Bill Thereur trumpet
Bill Ortiz trumpet
Rafa Postel trumpet
Kate Williams trumpet
Adam Shulman piano
Aneesa Strings bass
Genius Wesley drums
Tiffany Austin vocals
Kenny Washington vocals

A seemingly tireless and always in-demand bassist, composer, bandleader, and educator, Shelby has been blending music and activism for decades.

SF Weekly

Personnel

Marcus Shelby conductor
Kristen Strom
 alto saxophone & flute
Tom Griesser alto saxophone & clarinet
Patrick Wolff tenor saxophone & clarinet
Danny Brown tenor saxophone & clarinet
Fil Lorenz baritone saxophone
Joel Behrman trombone
Rob Ewing trombone
Patrick Malabuyo trombone
Bill Thereur trumpet
Bill Ortiz trumpet
Rafa Postel trumpet
Kate Williams trumpet
Adam Shulman piano
Aneesa Strings bass
Genius Wesley drums
Tiffany Austin vocals
Kenny Washington vocals

A seemingly tireless and always in-demand bassist, composer, bandleader, and educator, Shelby has been blending music and activism for decades.

SF Weekly

Watch & Listen

Duke Ellington

Sugar Rum Cherry

Marcus Shelby

Moten Swing

Duke Ellington

Sugar Rum Cherry

Marcus Shelby

Moten Swing