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West Coast gets swing at San Francisco jazz center

  • The San Francisco Bourbon Kings perform on the red carpet before the opening night concert of the SFJAZZ Center Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 in San Francisco. The 700-seat, specially designed concert hall nestled in the heart of the city's arts district attracted a crowd of hundreds with a high-energy, inaugural celebration emceed by Bill Cosby. Billed as the first freestanding building in the West built for jazz performance and education, the center opened Wednesday after raising more than $60 million over more than a decade to build a home for SFJAZZ, the nonprofit that puts on the city's jazz festival. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO — Full of shimmer and swing, San Francisco's sleek new jazz concert hall opened Wednesday night with an opening night gala featuring McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea and Esperanza Spalding aimed at cementing respect for and expanding the reach of the jazz idiom on the West Coast.

Called SF JAZZ Center, the 700-seat specially designed concert hall nestled in the heart of the city's arts district, was brightly lit amid a light rain and attracted a crowd of hundreds with a high-energy, inaugural celebration emceed by Bill Cosby.

Cosby played percussion during the night's first number, along with several others including Oakland percussionist John Santos.

"This is just fabulous, it's a tremendous opportunity for everyone here," Santos said.

Billed as the first freestanding building in the West built for jazz performance and education, the center opened Wednesday after raising more than $60 million over more than a decade to build a home for SFJAZZ, the nonprofit that puts on the city's jazz festival.


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