Blues in the City with Marcus Shelby & Eva Paterson
How have the concurrent crises of homelessness, systemic racism and the global pandemic affected the most vulnerable residents of San Francisco? And how does art address and respond to these complex issues? Join Composer/educator Marcus Shelby and Eva Paterson, Co-Founder of the Equal Justice Society, for a riveting conversation and Q&A. Marcus will also share musical samples of works-in-progress from his forthcoming suite Blues in the City, commissioned by Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
Marcus Anthony Shelby is a composer, bassist, bandleader, and educator who currently lives in San Francisco, California. His work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and music education. 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, Shelby 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 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 Parallel 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). Shelby is also the voice of Ray Gardener in the block buster Disney Pixar film SOUL 2020. 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. Shelby has served on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 2013 and has worked with the Equal Justice Society for over 20 years.
A civil rights champion and litigator for more than four decades, Eva Jefferson Paterson is President and Co-founder of the Equal Justice Society, a legal organization transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts. Eva is a frequent speaker and commentator on topics such as white supremacy, implicit bias, and affirmative action, and invited to speak at venues such as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judicial Conference and being called as a witness by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. Paterson has received more than 50 awards, including the Fay Stender Award from the California Women Lawyers, Woman of the Year from the Black Leadership Forum, the Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU of Northern California, and the Alumni Award of Merit from Northwestern University where she received her B.A. in political science and was elected the first Black student body president. Eva received her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
In partnership with:
This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.