SFJAZZ Sounds Off for Chucho Valdés

Photos by Drew Altizer, Devlin Shand, and Ando Caulfield for Drew Altizer Photography

Cuban Jazz sensation Chucho Valdés was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual SFJAZZ Gala on January 31. Valdés’ immense presence set the tone for the evening, which saw its share of boldface names dressed in snazzy ensembles to match the eclectic, high-energy atmosphere.

The time Valdés spent on stage struck chords with the audience. As did the other musical performances by artists like Corinne Bailey Rae, Dianne Reeves, Omara Portuondo, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more.

Another highlight of the gala, co-chaired by Cissie, Darian and Rick Swig, was an appearance by Nancy Pelosi with husband Paul. Dressed in one of her classic power suits — this time, an unmissable royal blue number — the house speaker only added to the crowd’s excitement.

Even Valdés, a 10-time Grammy Award-winning pianist, would have been remiss not to hop on that photo opportunity.

On his social media platforms, the honoree shared his gratitude: “I want to thank SFJAZZ for all the love and affection,” he wrote. “For me it is and will be unforgettable … .”

Proceeds from the glitzy night went to support the organization’s educational programming.

Darian and Rick Swig with Chucho Valdés and Lorena Salcedo.
Gina Gallo Boisset, Paul and Nancy Pelosi with Jean-Charles Boisset
Adam Swig, Ben Jaffe and Ben Swig
Betsy Zeger, Lisa Pritzker, Darian Swig and Randi Fisher.
Del Anderson Handy and John Handy.
Ruchi Sanghvi and Diksha Makan.
Nion McEvoy, Leslie Berriman and Randall Kline
Michael and Alison Mauze with Caroline and Jon Sebastiani.

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