I was pretty excited to get a call from American Way (American Airline's magazine) to photograph Randal Kline at the new SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco. I've been looking forward to visting the new center and what better way than with a photoshoot where I would have access to check out the entire building.
Randal was busy with the opening week chaos still going on and the building not completely finished. He was very gracious and spent a lot of time with us and I never felt rushed (even though I'm sure he was ready to be done and get back to working on that night's show). After dropping a couple hints as to how much I would have loved to attended the opening night concert (which was just a few days prior) and how much I was hoping to make it to some shows soon, Randal asks "have any plans tonight? Want to come to tonight's show?". I of course had plans with some friends, to which he said "ahh, blow them off, it's going to be an amazing show".
He was right; it was an amazing concert. The lineup for the night was the SFJAZZ Collective (their "house band"), Regina Carter, Jason Moran, Bill Frisell, McCoy Tyner and many more. The duet with Jason Moran and drummer Eric Harland covering a Fats Waller song was the best part of the night for me. If this was what could be expected from SFJAZZ, I'd suggest getting a membership. I will be.
The new center, while not completely finished, looks amazing. One cool feature of the center is actually across the street. In an old building directly across from the Jazz Center they arranged to have all the windows filled with old B&W photographs of jazz musicians. Because the exterior walls of the Jazz Center are all glass you can see the entire building and all the photos. And as far as the performance hall goes, I don't think I've been anywhere that sounds better. The acoustics were amazing and there isn't a bad seat in the house (although I'm not sure I'd want to be in the seats above and behind the stage. However everyone up there seemed to be enjoying the bird's eye view).
If you're in the area, I highly recommend taking in a show at the new SFJAZZ Center.