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Arts & Culture Music

Hear the Notes and Celebrate Around the World with International Jazz Day

The 10th Anniversary of International Jazz Day, the world’s largest annual celebration of jazz, will take place on Friday, April 30, with thousands of worldwide programs culminating in a spectacular All-Star Global Concert from New York, Los Angeles, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Cape Town, Moscow, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities around the globe. Hosted by multi-Academy Award winner Michael Douglas from United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Global Concert will feature performances from an array of jazz icons representing more than 20 countries. Following this historic program, viewers across the United States can tune in to the International Jazz Day 10th Anniversary Celebration on PBS for a look back at the past decade of International Jazz Day programs, made possible by Toyota, the 2021 Lead Partner.

Premiering nationally at 9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m. CDT on April 30 (check local PBS listings), the International Jazz Day 10th Anniversary Celebration highlights extraordinary performances from the last 10 years. The special features unforgettable moments from Jazz Day concerts at the United Nations, Istanbul, Osaka, Paris, Washington, D.C., Havana, St. Petersburg, New Orleans, and Melbourne. Viewers will enjoy legendary artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Annie Lennox, Sting, Wynton Marsalis, and Hugh Masekela, along with hosts including Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, and Helen Mirren.

Earlier in the day, at 5:00 p.m. EDT/2:00 p.m. PDT, the 2021 All-Star Global Concert features a historic lineup of performances by the world’s greatest jazz masters. Herbie Hancock will serve as Artistic Director, and John Beasley will serve as Musical Director. Artists in New York include Melissa Aldana (Chile), Massimo Biolcati (Italy), A Bu (China), Cyrus Chestnut, Amina Figarova (Azerbaijan), Roberta Gambarini (Italy), Kenny Garrett, Stefon Harris, Ingrid Jensen (Canada), Joe Lovano, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Antonio Sánchez (Mexico) and Veronica Swift.  In Los Angeles, Herbie Hancock will be joined by Alex Acuña (Peru), Justo Almario (Colombia), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jonathan Butler (South Africa), Mahmoud Chouki (Morocco), Gerald Clayton, Andra Day, Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, Francisco Torres (Mexico), and Ben Williams. Leading international performances will be Igor Butman in Moscow, Jacob Collier in London, Mandisi Dyantyis in Cape Town, Ivan Lins in Rio De Janeiro, John McLaughlin in Monaco, and Junko Onishi in Tokyo, among others. The concert will be presented as a live webcast via YouTube, Facebook, jazzday.com, UN Web TV, UNESCO, and U.S. State Department outlets.

“UNESCO created International Jazz Day to share the values of a deeply meaningful musical genre,” explained UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Today we need jazz more than ever. We need its values, based on human dignity and the fight against racism and all forms of oppression. It is so much more than music, jazz is the kind of bridge-builder we need in the world today.”

The All-Star Global Concert serves as the official culmination of International Jazz Day, capping a program of performances, educational workshops, community service projects, virtual gatherings, and more taking place in all 50 U.S. states and more than 190 countries. Leading up to the concert will be a series of free virtual educational programs featuring UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, pianist and composer Kris Bowers, and others. The 2021 virtual education program will be streamed on jazzday.com.

“Our International Jazz Day community has displayed incredible resilience, creativity, ingenuity and compassion throughout the immense challenges of the past year,” said Herbie Hancock. “While the global pandemic continues to make life difficult for so many around the world, the example of organizers from Nepal to Mexico to Cameroon inspires us to greet this historic 10th Anniversary milestone with joy, courage and hope for the future of jazz.”

Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 at the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, and recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities worldwide every April 30th to celebrate jazz and highlight the music’s important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination and promoting human dignity. International Jazz Day has become a global movement reaching more than two billion people annually on all seven continents, including Antarctica. The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is UNESCO’s official partner in the organization and promotion of International Jazz Day.

For more information, visit JazzDay.com or Unesco.org/JazzDay.

Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash

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