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Celebrate International Jazz Day this weekend

by Cass Teague
To mark International Jazz Day 2023, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock met for a historic conversation about the impact of jazz on their lives and humanity.

The 2024 edition of International Jazz Day (IJD) will be celebrated in more than 190 countries on Tuesday, April 30. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock are pleased to announce that the city of Tangier, Morocco will serve as the Global Host and will anchor the International Jazz Day programs around the world.

Presented in partnership with the Ministry of Culture of Morocco and the City of Tangier, the four-day celebration (Saturday, April 27 – Tuesday, April 30) will emphasize the city’s jazz heritage and highlight cultural and artistic ties between people in Morocco, Europe and Africa. A series of education programs will include events for students of all ages, a special presentation showcasing the significance of Morocco’s Gnawa music and its connection with jazz, and conversations about the history of jazz and its impact on Tangier, among others.

The All-Star Global Concert at the beautiful, new Palace of Arts and Culture of Tangier – an architectural masterpiece – will be broadcast via YouTube, Facebook, JazzDay.com, the United Nations and UNESCO to millions of viewers worldwide. All-Star Global Concert Artists include Claudia Acuña, Ambrose Akinmusire, John Beasley (Musical Director), Lakecia Benjamin, TK Blue, Richard Bona, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Billy Childs, Moreira Chonguiça, Shemekia Copeland, Mandisi Dyantyis, Abdellah El Gourd, Kurt Elling, Antonio Faraò, Melody Gardot, James Genus, Terreon Gully, Herbie Hancock, Jazzmeia Horn, JK Kim,Rhani Krija, Femi Kuti, Román Lajara, Magnus Lindgren, Romero Lubambo, Marcus Miller, Yasushi Nakamura, Philippe Powell, Sharp Radway, Troy Roberts, Antonio Serrano, Jaleel Shaw, Jahari Stampley, Joe Louis Walker, and Tarek Yamani.

Vocalist Somi, pianist John Beasley and bassist Ben Williams perform “House of the Rising Sun” at Meridian House in Washington, DC as part of the 2023 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert.

Located at the crossroads of Europe and Africa, Tangier is known as a melting pot of cultural expressions. Tangier boasts a long, rich history of jazz. Among the world-renowned jazz artists who performed and spent time in Tangier were Josephine Baker, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Mann and Archie Shepp. For many years, jazz master Randy Weston lived in Tangier, where he collaborated with Gnawa master Abdellah El Gourd to explore the roots of jazz and African music. Gnawa-jazz, a fusion of Morocco’s traditional musical style and jazz, is appreciated across Morocco and far beyond. In the 1970s, Weston founded the African Jazz Festival, which became the inspiration for multiple jazz festivals throughout Morocco, including Tanjazz and Jazzablanca.

Schools, universities and non-governmental organizations around the world IJD. Performing arts venues, community centers, town squares, parks, libraries, museums, restaurants, clubs and festivals organize thousands of activities, while public radio and television feature jazz on and around International Jazz Day, including several right here in Nashville.

Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011, recognized by the UN General Assembly, IJD brings together countries and communities worldwide every April 30. IJD celebrations highlight the power of jazz in promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity and respect for human dignity.

International Jazz Day has become a global movement reaching more than 2 billion people annually on all continents through education programs, performances, community outreach, radio, television and streaming, along with electronic, print and social media. The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing International Jazz Day each year.

To learn more about International Jazz Day and events on the official website, visit: www.jazzday.com or www.unesco.org/en/international-jazz-day.

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