The SFJazz Freedom in the Groove Gala took place last week on the roof of Bimbo’s 365 Club. Approximately 400 guests gathered at the event, which raised $1.1. million for SFJazz’s education programs.
Honoring pianist and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal, the event also welcomed Clint Eastwood who paid tribute to his friend Jamal.
“Jazz is a true American art form,” said Eastwood. “It was born in this country, and it can’t be imitated anywhere else.”
Gala chairman and SFJazz trustee Robert Mailer Anderson added, “We hope the music will expand into a broader cultural dialogue.”
Arriving guests were greeted as the entered Bimbo’s by tunes played by the SFJazz High School All-Stars. The evening also included an ode to late jazz legends by SFJazz Poet Laureate Ishmael Reed, the appointment of photographer Jim Goldberg as SFJazz’s first photography laureate, the inaugural NAACP/SFJazz Humanitarian Award, which went to comedian Chris Tucker, and an After Jam funk party.