Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Old Story, New Art Form 

Wednesday, Sep 19 2007
Using a form he calls a "secular oratorio," jazz musician Marcus Shelby wrote what we call a modern opera. Quilting together bebop, blues, gospel, and more, Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land is jazz on a grand scale. Written for a 14-piece jazz orchestra and four booming voices, Tubman tells a soaring philosophical and political story — a familiar part of U.S. history, to be sure, but one whose details, textures, and heroism benefit from a skillfully crafted, sleekly beautiful frame like this. Today, the Marcus Shelby Quartet strips the project down a bit: "Harriet Tubman and Jazz" features vocalist Faye Carol, whom audiences will remember from the orchestra's only full presentation this spring at the Yerba Buena Gardens. One of the great pleasures of a Shelby performance is hearing him speak about his inspirations, about the research he's done, and sometimes, about the bits of ideas he had to leave out. So jump at the chance to see the Tubman story in a smaller version; when it gets its full treatment next month, you'll hear even more than the people sitting around you.
Sun., Sept. 23, 2 p.m., 2007

About The Author

Hiya Swanhuyser


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"