When it comes to meditations on historical events and persons, few do it as poignantly as Bay Area jazz bassist and composer Marcus Shelby. He’s produced works (on his own volition and by commission) on Harriet Tubman (Harriet Tubman), the Naval disaster of 1944 (Port Chicago), and Martin Luther King Jr. (Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), among others. Now, he’s been commissioned to create new material focused on the Civil Rights Movement for Living Jazz’s twelfth annual Musical Tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which will be held January 19, 2014 at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center. The commission will include three parts and will feature the Oakland Children’s Community Choir, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and Shelby’s own jazz orchestra. The Oakland nonprofit Living Jazz has received a challenge grant from the East Bay Community Foundation to support the new compositions, and needs to raise $6,500 to reach its match. To support the endeavor — and hear Shelby discuss his research and perform excerpts of the work-in-progress — a benefit will be held this weekend at the Piedmont Piano Company (1728 San Pablo Ave. Oakland), with Faye Carol, Melanie DeMore, Joe Warner, and more.