In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day (IJD) is chaired and led by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, which plans, promotes, and produces this annual celebration.
IJD brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication, promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; fostering gender equality; and promoting freedom of expression. Read more at: https://jazzday.com/
Last year, IJD 2021 again saw over 190 countries participate, with a spectacular All-Star Global Concert featuring artists performing from cities across the globe. See highlights of the 2021 concert event on International Jazz Day 2022. Shot on location in Cape Town, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, and Tokyo, the transcontinental array of performances spans genres and timbres, from vocal phenom Veronica Swift boldly reinterpreting the Dresden Dolls’ defiant anthem “Sing”–reimagined for the pandemic era–to a sublime rendition of “God Bless the Child” featuring Golden Globe winner Andra Day and jazz legend Herbie Hancock.
Anchored by Academy Award winner Michael Douglas, other highlights include a Caribbean-inspired riff on “La Mer” featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, fiery presentations of “Chasing the Wind” by Kenny Garrett and “Passion Dance” featuring Melissa Aldana and Rudresh Mahanthappa, and a lustrous performance by Dianne Reeves over Ivan Lins’ cautionary ballad “Evolution.” The evening comes to a rousing end with an extraordinary performance of “Imagine” by the all-star casts of previous Jazz Day celebrations in Osaka, Paris, Havana, Saint Petersburg, Melbourne, and Washington, D.C.
International Jazz Day 2022 premieres Friday, April 29, at 9:00 pm on NPT; repeats overnight Friday/ Saturday, April 30, at 1:00 am on NPT; and again, late-night Sunday/ Monday, May 2, 3:00 am on NPT in High Definition. NPT is available free over the air on digital channel 8.1 or on the PBS app.
Locally enjoy the Jazz Empowers Spring Gala on Saturday, April 30th from 7 pm-8 pm CST for a free interactive virtual gala on International Jazz Day. They will spend the evening showcasing the amazing students at Jazz Empowers and highlighting how jazz is transforming their lives. You won’t want to miss this exciting evening of student performances, an interactive live auction for a jazz club trip to NYC, and student testimonials. All proceeds from this fundraiser will go towards supporting jazz programs in underserved schools. Help provide music education to students, some of which without Jazz Empowers, might never have the opportunity to learn music. See their website for more: jazzempowers.org/