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SFJAZZ Annual Gala Raises Over $1 Million

City proclaims “Ahmad Jamal Day” as Clint Eastwood, other celebs celebrate

Ahmad Jamal, SFJAZZ Spring Gala 2012
Ahmad Jamal and Clint Eastwood, SFJAZZ Spring Gala 2012
Ahmad Jamal performing at 2012 SFJAZZ Spring Gala
Clint Eastwood and Ahmad Jamal, SFJAZZ Gala 2012
Clint Eastwood, Felice Swapp of SFJAZZ, SFJAZZ Poet Laureate Ishmael Reed, Randall Kline of SFJAZZ, Ahmad Jamal, SFJAZZ Spring Gala 2012

SFJAZZ raised more than $1.1 million in donations at its annual Spring Gala fundraiser May 11. The event, held at San Francisco’s Bimbo 365 Club, drew a crowd of celebrities and Bay Area notables, among them the legendary actor-director and jazz supporter Clint Eastwood.

The funds will go toward the capital campaign for the organization’s SFJAZZ Center, opening on January 21, 2013. The evening honored several special guests with awards, including the first NAACP/SFJAZZ Humanitarian Award to Chris Tucker (presented by NAACP President Benjamin Jealous), the first-ever SFJAZZ Photographer Laureate to Jim Goldberg (presented by Robert Mailer Anderson) and the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award to Ahmad Jamal (presented by Eastwood). Willie Brown also delivered an official proclamation from current San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, declaring the day “Ahmad Jamal Day in San Francisco.”

Also attending the gala were comedian Robert Townsend; director Philip Kaufman; authors Ishmael Reed (the SFJAZZ Poet Laureate, who also read his poem, “Sweet Pea”), Bobby and Rosemary Hutcherson, Amy Tan, Michael Chabon and Daniel Handler; and former San Francisco mayor and current Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, and California State Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Performing were Jamal, Maceo Parker, the SFJAZZ High School All Stars and the SFJAZZ Collective.

Originally Published