Wow! I attended a concert at the San Francisco Jazz Center this past Friday and what a complete joy it was. First, for San Francisco, the parking was a breeze. There are several parking facilities, who specifically cater to those attending the various performing arts venues in the area. I found one less than a block away charging not by the hour, but $15.00 for the evening.
The San Francisco Jazz Center is the newest jewel in the glittering crown of Bay Area performing Arts venues, and the first performing arts venue in the country specifically dedicated to Jazz. The center’s Robert N. Miner Auditorium was designed both visually and acoustically to encourage interaction between the performing artists and their audiences.
The center, a non profit, offers not only an amazing assortment of not only local but world class artists, but also an ongoing schedule of classes, seminars and other educational programs. Besides the concert stages, there are classrooms and lecture facilities offering activities for adults and young people alike.
Being a fan of the “Big Band,” sound of the 40’s, I was blown away by the performance of Lavay Smith and her band, “The Red Hot Skillet Lickers.” Ms. Smith is a consummate performer with a delightful knack for engaging her audience. Hell, she even came down off the stage and danced with members of the audience. Now just how cool is that.
Prior to the concert there were representatives from a local dance school giving lessons in 40’s stile swing dancing. Yes, the concert hall has a dance floor. Once Ms. Smith and the Skillet Lickers took the stage there were never fewer than fifty couples dancing. It was a splendid time. An evening of complete joy.
I do have a word of caution. If you have any mobility issues, you should explain this when you purchase your tickets. In order to provide a superb view to all seats, the floor of the seating area is very steeply raked, thus the stairs are quite steep, however, if you notify the staff of any mobility issues you may have they will of course make all efforts to accommodate you.
If you haven’t yet paid a visit to the Center, you owe it to your self. Also, if jazz is an important part of your life, please consider becoming a member and supporter of the center and its ongoing educational programs.