The Jazz Connect Conference is pleased to announce that Randall Kline, founder and executive artistic director of SFJAZZ, is the first recipient of the Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award, presented by Jazz Connect. He will receive the award on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at the Jazz Connect Conference in New York City. Held at Saint Peter's Church, the two-day conference brings together members of the international jazz community for a series of panels, workshops and events, all dedicated to expanding the audience for jazz.
The formation of the award was announced at the 2014 Jazz Connect Conference at the culmination of a panel (sponsored by NARAS) saluting Lundvall's legacy and featuring Michael Cuscuna, Robert Glasper and Jason Moran. The Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award, presented by Jazz Connect, was created in honor of the longtime jazz record executive who was a champion and advocate for so many jazz artists over the last four decades. The annual award recognizes someone who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and vision in expanding the audience for jazz and who has made a real difference for the artists, the music and the audience.
Commenting on the Visionary Award being named for him, Lundvall said, "I am truly humbled and honored by this award and was amazed to first learn of it. I have always approached my job with passion and honesty. I love jazz so much. It's provided me with my life's work, filled with rich experiences through relationships with many special artists and talented executives."
Peter Gordon, of the Jazz Forward Coalition and one of the organizers of the conference, said that, "Empowered by Bruce's gracious grandeur, we wanted his legacy memorialized with a new standard of excellence, to drive us to places we never thought achievable." He added, "Though we are all soldiers on the battlefield, this award is Jazz Connect's recognition of an against-all-odds effort that an individual has had to shoulder to make the impossible possible and challenge the rest of us to do the same."
Dr. George Butler, McCoy Tyner, Bruce Lundvall
The organizers of the Jazz Connect Conference chose Kline as the first recipient, based on not only a long career as a jazz presenter and champion, but also based on the herculean task of establishing the SFJAZZ Center in 2013. The Center comprises 35,000 square feet in a transparent and open structure features the state-of-the-art Robert N. Miner Auditorium with seating adjustable from 350 to 700, the 100-seat multi-purpose Joe Henderson Lab, rehearsal spaces, digital learning lab, South at SFJAZZ (bar/café from renowned chef Charles Phan), ground floor lobby, retail shop/box office, and SFJAZZ administrative offices. The SFJAZZ Center is the result of a $64 million capital campaign that was completed in September of 2014.
Lundvall reinforced Kline's unique contributions to the jazz community. "Randall is a true visionary, working in the most important jazz city in America after New York City," said Lundvall. "The new SFJAZZ Center has attracted great artists and he's put the city on the map which has reinforced his venue and the city as the west coast center for jazz."
SFJAZZ -- originally titled Jazz in the City -- was founded in 1983 with a seed grant from Grants for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Seventeen years later in December of 1999 Kline announced the establishment of SFJAZZ, the San Francisco Jazz Organization, a much-expanded organization with year-round concert and educational programs. The SFJAZZ Collective -- now the resident ensemble of the SFJAZZ Center -- was established in 2004 and its eight members are commissioned to write a new composition and new arrangement of jazz' modern masters. The Collective has produced over 71 original compositions and 75 new arrangements in its 10 years - all recorded and produced by SFJAZZ.
Kline currently serves on the board of directors of Chamber Music America, the Western Jazz Presenters Network, and is member of the Board of Governors of the University of California Humanities Research Institute. This is such an honor," said Kline. "Bruce is one of the true beacons of the jazz and music business and it is humbling to be considered for an award that is named in his honor."