“Harlem of the West” a zoom presentation and discussion featuring legendary musicians John Handy and Sugar Pie DeSanto; special guest author Elizabeth Pepin Silva.
Hosted by Marcus Shelby and Stella Heath.
Join HBGJAZZ in this free Zoom Presentation and Discussion featuring legendary saxophonist John Handy, legendary blues artist Sugar Pie DeSanto, who both were young musicians in San Francisco during this era, and writer and historian Elizabeth Pepin Silva who co-wrote the book “Harlem of the West.”. The event will be hosted by artistic director, composer, and bassist Marcus Shelby and co-hosted by vocalist and bandleader Stella Heath,
The 2-hour Presentation and Discussion will cover the rich legacy and history of Black Music in San Francisco’s Fillmore District during the 1940-50s. The Fillmore was a swinging, integrated, and hopping neighborhood dotted with restaurants, pool halls, theaters, and shops —many minority-owned and boasting more than two dozen active nightclubs and music joints within its one square mile. Although it has been commemorated in songs, poems, and in Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” few people today know of the rich history of the Fillmore and its musical legacy because it vanished abruptly and so thoroughly due to redevelopment in the 1960s.
Marcus Shelby, Stella Heath, and Elizabeth Pepin Silva will explore the music and lives of artists who were important figures during the “Harlem of the West” era including Saunders King, Pony Poindexter, Teddy Edwards, Johnny Otis, Mary Stallings, Sugar Pie DeSanto, John Handy, Vernon Alley, Eddie Duran, Federico Cervantes, Frank Jackson and many more. The presentation and discussion will also explore the music of many of the most famous performing artists such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and others who played on Fillmore Street in San Francisco and at other venues that made up “Harlem of the West”.