By John A. Barry
Marcus Shelby QuartetUploaded: Feb 11, 2014
I was fortunate to be a part of the Jazz at Peace concert on February 9 and got a shout-out from the stage by Marcus Shelby, leader of the quartet that played. Shelby acknowledged my 21 x 12-foot trAction Painting that hangs in the sanctuary through this month. It was a multidisciplinary evening as Shelby prefaced the group's sets with readings from Martin Luther King, Jr. Pastor Steve Harms read rain-themed ruminations from Trappist monk Thomas Merton.
In addition to Shelby on bass, the quartet includes Tiffany Austin, vocals; Ila Cantor, guitar; and Joe Warner, piano. It's a young group. Warner, for example, is only 21 yet handles the keyboard like an old pro. Cantor's deadpan demeanor belies an animated style on the Fender Telecaster. The only knock on Austin's vocals concerned not her singing, which a musician in the audience categorized as "great," but the mic volume, which was not quite loud enough.
San Francisco-based Shelby composes, teaches, and fronts his own big band (http://www.marcusshelby.com). He is tentatively schedule to return to Peace next month.
Jazz at Peace is a regular feature of the church. For a calendar of concerts: http://peacejourney.org/free-jazzmusic-2/jazz-calendar/