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The corner of Franklin and Fell is alive with the sound of music.

That would be the music coming from the electrifying new SFJAZZ Center that opened on Monday. The 35,000-square-foot space, designed by acclaimed architecture firm Mark Cavagnero Associates, will host big names in jazz, Latin and other global music.

Doing away with the dark, subterranean jazz clubs of yore, the center has glass windows all around so natural light pours in, and open terraces flank the building. The steeply pitched main amphitheater fits up to 700 people, but there isn?t a bad seat in the house (we parked ourselves at the top to make sure). The space was strategically designed to have the acoustic qualities of a concert hall and the intimacy of a smaller venue where you feel connected to the musicians. In that same spirit, passersby can see performances taking place on the ground floor in the Joe Henderson Lab.

Chef Charles Phan has been enlisted to run the food-and-drink show. His café, South at SFJAZZ, which will serve New Orleans-inspired grub, is slated to open in early February.

We?re marking our calendars now to see the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Mariza, Dave Holland and Béla Fleck. The beat is on.

201 Franklin St.; 866-920-5299 or

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