by Rochelle Metcalfe, 2013-01-23

SAN FRANCISCO IS ON A ROLL - Giants won the World Series...49ers going to the Super Bowl, and SFJAZZ has put the Jazz world on notice - WATCH OUT! The Fabulous $64 million, SFJAZZ Center , located at the bustling corner of Fell and Franklin, State of the Art stand alone structure in the country, built specifically for Jazz, kicks off its GRAND OPENING tonight !

SFJAZZ Center is the essence of RANDALL KLINE, Founder and Executive Artistic Director, living his dream - a vision that started with Jazz in the City concerts in 1983, in rented venues around the city, and my first introduction with the gentleman.

Tonight, the historic Grand Opening Night Concert spotlights elite VIP first nighters who support and enjoy the music form. Legendary jazz-loving comedian BILL COSBY hosts an extraordinary cast of musicians inaugurating the Robert N. Miner Auditorium ( named for the late jazz loving Oracle co-founder whose family contributed to the building). On stage, legends, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Hutcherson, Mary Stallings, John Handy, Regina Carter and more. Legacy Spotlights through Sunday.

SFJAZZ has put the city on the world map! The talk of the Jazz world, musicians will converge on the City, not only this week but weeks to come! SFAZZ good for the economy!

Got the real feel of the center while on the media tour last Wednesday, a beautiful morning in Hayes Valley - a neighborhood mix of residents and popular eateries. The center has presence - felt a spiritual connection. The SFJAZZ Center comprises 35,000 square feet in an innovative transparent structure. A flexible amphitheater that seats 300-700 people in close proximity to the musicians. The building’s transparent glass facades bring the energy and color of the center right out to the street. Drivers, pedestrians will be able to see folks mingling inside, musicians in small group performances, smell the scent of food from SFJAZZ South Restaurant. Chef/owner CHARLES PHAN, of Slanted Door fame, will serve three meals a day, new Orleans flavor - look for me for breakfast!

Kline stated to the media gathering (that included Jazz lover and photographer Harrison Chastang), “We wanted to create a community gathering place around jazz, a place where jazz can do what its always done - grow and change. Now there’s a permanent place in San Francisco where it can flourish.”

Monday, celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, SFJAZZ opened with a free public ribbon-cutting (missed that), Fell between Grove and Franklin closed off - vendor food booths, chairs and table seating on sidewalk - folks waiting to take the tour, and LIVE music, New Orleans sound heard by a collective of musicians that included saxophonist, Howard Wiley.

Browsing through the crowd, ran into vibist Bobby Hutcherson and family. Check out his new cd, entitled “Somewhere in the Night.” Sunday, Bobby celebrates his birthday in concert , which is sold out! Bassist Marcus Shelby... we admired the marvelous black and white pictures (murals) directly across the street within a building window frame, on Franklin, of the jazz artists; Christine Harris, of Lush Life Gallery, within the Yoshi’s complex on Fillmore.

John Handy and Dell Anderson-Handy (she on SFJAZZ Board of Trustees). A surprised birthday celebration was thrown in Handy’s honor at the Center (Feb. 3 is his day). The two plan to take a Jazz cruise within the next month. I Go back to the 70s with John and his commercial hit “Hard Work!”

The start of 2013 kicks off in what will be an exciting year embracing America’s National Art Form - JAZZ!

E-mail Rochelle at iheard@earthlink.net