Founded by Randall Kline in 1983 under the name Jazz in the City, SFJAZZ has become the world’s leading cultural institution devoted to jazz and related forms of music, presenting over 300 performances each year at the new SFJAZZ Center and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
In addition to presenting the SFJAZZ annual season, the San Francisco Jazz Festival and SFJAZZ Summer Sessions, SFJAZZ supports a vibrant local music scene with Hotplate events and their free summer concerts at Stanford Shopping Center and Levi’s Plaza, and nurtures aspiring musicians with diverse education programs and performing ensembles.
In January 2013, SFJAZZ took the most audacious step in its evolution, opening the 36,000-square-foot, $64 million SFJAZZ Center on the corner of Fell and Franklin streets in the heart of San Francisco’s cultural corridor.
The first stand-alone structure in the country built specifically for jazz, the SFJAZZ Center was designed by award-winning San Francisco architect Mark Cavagnero, who worked with acoustician Sam Berkow and theater designer Len Auerbach to create a main performance space with the acoustic quality of a great concert hall and the relaxed intimacy of a jazz club. That’s the Robert N. Miner Auditorium, a flexible, scalable venue that seats up to 700 people in close proximity to the musicians with superb sightlines and pristine acoustics tailored for jazz performance.
The 100-seat Joe Henderson Lab is the SFJAZZ Center’s street-level performance and rehearsal space, named for the late, great saxophonist and San Francisco resident, which also serves as the nerve center for the organization’s education department. Students of all ages use the Joe Henderson Lab as well as the practice rooms and cutting edge digital lab for workshops, rehearsals, master classes and private instruction.
“We wanted to create a community gathering place around jazz,” Kline says, “a place where jazz can do what it’s always done—grow and change. Now there’s a permanent place in
San Francisco where it can flourish.”