The SFJAZZ Center was designed by award-winning architect Mark Cavagnero, acoustician Sam Berkow, theater designer Len Auerbach, and constructed by lead contractor Hathaway/Dinwiddie. The three-story Center comprises 35,000 square feet in a transparent, LEED Certified structure featuring the state-of-the-art Robert N. Miner auditorium adjustable from 350 to 700 seats, the 80-seat multi-purpose ensemble room, rehearsal spaces, digital learning lab, café at sidewalk level, ground floor lobby, retail shop, box office, and SFJAZZ administrative offices.
“After 30 years of presenting music in a variety of rented venues throughout the Bay, it is with great joy we announce our first season in our new home, the SFJAZZ Center,” says Kline. “The Center is the first free-standing building for jazz in the country – designed, from concept to concert hall, to create an enhanced setting for creating and experiencing what the esteemed jazz writer Whitney Balliett calls ‘the sound of surprise.’”
In the fall of 1983, SFJAZZ, then known as Jazz In The City, presented two concerts at the Herbst Theatre with a simple philosophy: offer the best of jazz music in an environment that showcases the full spectrum and artistry of the art form. Thirty years later, the SFJAZZ Center will open just two blocks from the site of the first concerts. The Center will be a hub of art, music, culture, and community and will take its place alongside major arts institutions such as the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and San Francisco Ballet in the Civic Center performing arts district and will truly be a home for jazz and a welcoming environment in which to hear, learn, and be inspired.
Three years ago, SFJAZZ launched The World is Listening" campaign to raise the funds to make the new SFJAZZ Center a reality. Led by an anonymous gift of $25 million, the largest ever given to a jazz institution, SFJAZZ has now raised $55 million from several generous individuals, foundations, and corporations. SFJAZZ is $8 million from the total goal of $63 million that will cover the cost of the new SFJAZZ Center construction as well as expand the endowment to provide a more robust source of operating income in the years ahead. There are still several exciting opportunities for members of the community to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime project. Naming a seat in the Robert N. Miner Auditorium is one way in which the public can take part in “The World Is Listening” campaign. For a contribution of $5,000, a plaque bearing a dedication can be permanently affixed to seat in the Center to support the Campaign.
With the opening of the SFJAZZ Center, the organization begins a new model for programming. The new model is a rubric of what the Center is designed and constructed to be—a home and a context for artistic conversations between audiences and artists. Each week, over four nights from Thursday to Sunday, a foundation will be built with a thread running through each night that connects artists, musical styles, and geography with residencies, collaborations, themes, premieres, and projects. The new model is illustrated with Dave Holland’s residency as he performs, over four nights, solo, as a duo with Kenny Barron, with his Quintet, and finally the premiere of his new project, Prism. Other examples are the series of performances from Resident Artistic Directors Bill Frisell, Regina Carter, and Miguel Zenón. Frisell will present Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish and Hunter S. Thompson’s The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved. Carter will curate four nights of tributes to her Southern roots and her musical heritage and Zenón will perform the music of his homeland, Puerto Rico, in four unique and disparate configurations.
The SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director program is also new for SFJAZZ. The program gives individual directors the opportunity to program, curate, perform, and participate in outreach and educational activities. The directors were selected based on each artist’s career, commitment to jazz, and understanding of the SFJAZZ mission. The SFJAZZ premiere artistic director lineup includes three MacArthur “Genius” Fellows—pianist Jason Moran, violinist Regina Carter, and saxophonist Miguel Zenón along with Grammy-winning guitarist and Artist Rasmuson Fellow Bill Frisell, and Five-time Grammy-nominated percussionist and US Artists Fontanals Fellow John Santos.
The mission of SFJAZZ is to reach, develop and nurture current and future musicians and audiences by providing rich, innovative, interactive and informative programming in jazz appreciation, creation, and performance. As an integral part of this mission, SFJAZZ named Ishmael Reed as SFJAZZ Poet Laureate and Jim Goldberg as SFJAZZ Photographer Laureate. The Laureates will work with the SFJAZZ Education Department to encourage expression across all art forms, including poetry and photography.
SFJAZZ also commissioned three murals by artists Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet to be installed in the SFJAZZ Center. The murals will be titled Jazz and the Nation,” Jazz and the City," and Jazz and the Afterlife.” The murals will be hand-painted by the artists on handmade ceramic tiles using underglazes. The tiles will then be glazed and fired for a permanent, glossy finish. The murals will be installed in the Center’s upstairs lobby and green room.
GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION & WEEK ONE FESTIVITIES
The First Concert, on Wednesday, January 23, will be a one-time-only musical extravaganza with McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, SFJAZZ Beacon Award winners Bobby Hutcherson, Mary Stallings, Rebeca Mauleón, SFJAZZ Collective, SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Directors, Master of Ceremonies Bill Cosby, and many more special guests to be announced.
The celebration will continue with many of the same artists on Thursday, January 24, Friday, January 25, and Saturday, January 26 with McCoy Tyner, Joshua Redman, Mary Stallings, SFJAZZ Collective, and SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Directors, and many more special guests to be announced.
Sunday, January 27 will be celebrate the birthday of the legendary vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson featuring Savion Glover, McCoy Tyner, Joshua Redman, Mary Stallings, SFJAZZ Collective, SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Directors, and many more special guests to be announced.
The week-long Grand Opening celebration will kick off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 21 with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and a day long open house of free events open to the public with tours highlighting the center’s special features and architecture.
On Tuesday, January 22, the Center will host a special fundraiser and poker night hosted by World Series of Poker Hall of Famer Phil Hellmuth.
Visit the website for the complete season one artist lineup.