Dawn of the SFJAZZ Center—First Stand-Alone Venue for Jazz in America—Comes a Century After the Birth of Jazz

Share Article

Gala 2011: Groundbreaking! Celebrates The Past, Present and Future Of Jazz with Legendary Vocalist Mary Stallings and The SFJAZZ Collective Paying Homage to Stevie Wonder

In a fitting tribute, nearly 100 years after the birth of the African American music tradition known as “jazz” – a West Coast slang term first used to refer to music in Chicago – SFJAZZ will build the nation’s first free-standing center solely dedicated to the presentation, education and preservation of the art form. On May 6, 2011, SFJAZZ, the largest nonprofit presenter of jazz and world music in America, kicks off the construction of the new SFJAZZ Center with a ceremonial groundbreaking event in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. The SFJAZZ Board of Trustees, donors, musicians and jazz fans alike have already raised over $46 million of the $60 million budgeted to create this state-of-the-art cultural center. Scheduled for completion in 2012 The SFJAZZ Center, designed by renowned architect Mark Cavagnero of Mark Cavagnero Associates, will be a transparent, 35,000-square-foot, freestanding LEED®-compliant structure that will provide artistic and education programs for the community.

“When it comes to jazz in America, we know that the world is listening. Therefore, we feel it is imperative that jazz has a space that is on par with the greatest symphony, opera or ballet halls in the world,” said SFJAZZ Gala 2011 Honorary Chairman and noted Bay Area author Robert Mailer Anderson. “SFJAZZ, our generous donors and partners are proud to break ground on a center that will be as vibrant, accessible, eclectic, and culturally uplifting as the music itself,” said Anderson.

After the dust settles on the groundbreaking, donors and friends of SFJAZZ will go from shovels to stilettos and tuxedos to attend the annual, all-jazz gala at Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco’s North Beach, an 80-year institution where a host of jazz and other music greats launched their careers. This year’s theme, SFJAZZ Gala 2011: Groundbreaking! celebrates both the past, present and future generations of jazz with performances by legendary vocalist Mary Stallings, The SFJAZZ Collective and the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars.

SFJAZZ Gala 2011 honoree Mary Stallings, accompanied by pianist Eric Reed and his Trio, will showcase her signature style perfected over 60 years of performing with such jazz giants as trumpet legend Dizzy Gillespie, vocalist Billy Eckstine, Count Basie Orchestra, guitarist Wes Montgomery, saxophonist Ben Webster and vibraphonist Cal Tjader. She has shared the stage with vocal icons, including Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Jordan and Joe Williams.

In addition to Stallings, the SFJAZZ Collective - an all-star jazz ensemble comprising eight of the finest performers/composers at work in jazz today -- presents arrangements of the music of Stevie Wonder plus original compositions. This exceptional lineup of award-winning musicians includes vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trombonist Robin Eubanks, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Matt Penman, pianist Edward Simon with special appearances by alto saxophonist Greg Osby, tenor saxophonist David Sánchez and drummer Antonio Sanchez for a one-time-only performance.

The evening ends with an explosive and innovative Afro-Cuban tribute in the descarga – or jam session tradition –led by Rebeca Mauleón, keyboardist and SFJAZZ Director of Education. Members of the Santana Band, Cuban vocal sensation Adonis Puentes, the SFJAZZ All-Stars and the Bay Area’s best Salsa musicians and dancers will join in the performance.

Once completed, the SFJAZZ Center will house two main performance stages – a 700-seat auditorium named in honor of Oracle founder Robert N. Miner and an 80-seat lab yet to be named. The SFJAZZ Center will include dedicated space for lectures, panel discussions, clinics and workshops; a digital music lab for rehearsals, recording and production; and practice rooms for musicians and the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars. The SFJAZZ Center, projected to open in Fall 2012, will also serve as home for the SFJAZZ Collective.

Proceeds from SFJAZZ Gala 2011 directly benefit the artistic and education programs of SFJAZZ and education facilities planned for the new SFJAZZ Center. A core part of the SFJAZZ mission is the preservation and presentation of jazz, as well as inspiring and supporting the next generation of jazz greats and fans. Gala performers SFJAZZ High School All-Stars receive mentoring and funding from SFJAZZ.

About SFJAZZ
SFJAZZ, founded in 1983, is the largest nonprofit presenter of jazz and world music in America. SFJAZZ presents more than 100 concerts a year to over 100,000 fans and is dedicated to advancing the art form of jazz and cultivating new jazz audiences through artistic and educational programming, including: The San Francisco Jazz Festival, SFJAZZ Spring Season, SFJAZZ Collective, SFJAZZ Summerfest, SFJAZZ Education, SFJAZZ Membership and SFJAZZ Hotplate, a new monthly nightclub series featuring the Bay Area’s best musicians paying tribute to jazz legends. SFJAZZ programs receive support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA Jazz Masters, The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, The Koret Foundation and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Major sponsors of the SFJAZZ Spring Season include Northern Trust, JetBlue Airways, 7x7, California Home & Design, San Francisco Chronicle, The Jazz Cruise, City Park, KCSM, KBLX and many other individuals and organizations. The SFJAZZ 2011 Spring Season continues through June 25, 2011. For more information, contact SFJAZZ at (415) 283-0306 or visit http://www.sfjazz.org

HONORARY COMMITTEE: Robert Mailer Anderson, SFJAZZ Trustee and Gala Honorary Chair

Jennifer Azzi
Pam and Larry Baer
Paul Banas and L. Jasmine Kim
Sloan and Roger Barnett
Wilkes Bashford
Nancy Bechtle
Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet
Melanie and Larry Blum
Frances Bowes
Orlando Bravo
Susie and Sam Britton
Victoire Reynal and Owsley Brown III
The Honorable Willie Brown
Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon
Chaney and Les Claypool
Stefanie and Peter Coyote
Roger Craig
Laura and David Fox
Stanlee Gatti
Vanessa and Billy Getty
Jim Goldberg
Mimi Haas
Kelly and Mike Halper
Yosh Han
Daniel Handler and Lisa Brown
John Handy and Del Anderson Handy
The Honorable Kamala Harris, Attorney General
Todd Hido
Gwendolyn Holcombe and Carl Kawaja
Sara Houghteling and Daniel Mason
Rosemary and Bobby Hutcherson
Marc Jacobs International
Bradley and Chris James
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and Lia Epperson
Mary and Brent Johnson
Phil Kaufman
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Mayor Edwin Lee
Senator Mark Leno
Delroy and Nashormeh Lindo
Karen and Ronnie Lott
Ashley and Antonio Lucio
Becca Prowda and Daniel Lurie
Alan Malouf
Ms. Kitty Margolis and Dr. Alfonso Montuori
Nion McEvoy
Jonathan Moscone
Eddie Muller and Kathleen Maria Milne
Henrietta and Charlie Musselwhite
The Honorable Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor
Charles Olson and Yoko Watanabe
Christine Pelosi and Peter Kaufman
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi
Vivek Ranadive
Joshua Redman
Bill Russell-Shapiro
Katherine Sanborn and Phil Hellmuth
Cindy Blackman-Santana and Carlos Santana
April Sinclair
Jennifer and Jacques Soenens
Laura and Greg Spivy
Diana and Douglas Stewart
Amy Tan and Louis DeMattei
Elisabeth Thieriot
The Three Vernas
Jed York

GALA SPONSORS: NAACP, Oakville Ranch, Roederer Estates, Marc Jacobs International, Blue Bottle Coffee, Blue Angel Vodka, Artá Tequila, North Coast Brewery, No. 3 Gin, Smart Water, and TBW Books.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jenny Randall
R e v v Group, LLC
(415) 279-9893
Email >
Visit website

Media