It all started in 1983 by artistic director Randall Kline as an eclectic all Bay Area Jazz festival with a $20,000 grant and only 2 concerts at The Herbst Theater. Now 30 years later and more than $60 Million donated, The SFJAZZ center is quickly becoming a cultural institution with it’s Gleaming new auditorium.
The Grand opening Gala in January attracted an “A” list of Politicians, musicians, and music lovers from all over was over the top. The master of ceremony was Bill Cosby. Performers included such greats as John Stanos, Pete Escovedo, Mary Stallings, Chic Corea, Mc Coy Tyner to name just a few.
Guest were treated to an amazing array of foods provided by Town Hall, Michael Mina, Hog Island, NOPA, Quince and Charles Pham of Slanted Door, who just opening his new restaurant called South located inside the theater.
The building itself was designed by award wining architect Mark Cavagruco and built by Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company of concrete and glass. It’s main objective was to balance the focus of a formal concert hall with the comfortable feel of a club. Seating can go from 700 to 350; The auditorium has steep raked seating so every audience member has a clear view of the stage. The acoustics were specifically designed for a wide range of performers. The sound is amazing where ever you sit.
In addition to the auditorium there are private rooms for classes, a digital lab for recording and The Joe Henderson lab named for the legendary saxophonist. The Joe Henderson Lab is a flexible space of 80 seats designed for intimate performances, rehearsals and gatherings.
The coming months will bring such performers as Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Jason Moran, Bela Fleck and Dianne Reeves. Check out the calendar at sfjazz.org
The SFJAZZ center is centrally located in Hayes Valley on Franklin and Fell near Davies Symphony Hall. It is easily accessed by Muni and Bart