International Jazz Day – April 30

CELEBRATE JAZZ wherever you are!

International Jazz Day – Paris, New Orleans, New York concerts NOW online

The inaugural International Jazz Day concerts featured many of the finest jazz musicians in the world, including:
 Herbie Hancock, John Beasley (MD Paris concert), Tony Bennett, George Benson, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ron Carter, Gerald Clayton, Vinnie Colaiuta, Robert Cray, Eli Degibri, Jack DeJohnette, George Duke (MD NY concert, Sheila E, Roland Guerin, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, Barbara Hendricks, Hiromi, Zakir Hussain, Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo, Biréli Lagrène, Lang Lang, Lionel Loueke, Joe Lovano, Romero Lubambo, Ibrahim Maalouf, Shankar Mahadevan, Tania Maria, Ellis Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela, Christian McBride, China Moses, Danilo Perez, Dianne Reeves, Kermit Ruffins, Bobby Sanabria, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Bill Summers, Susan Tedeschi, Treme Brass Band, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Dr. Michael White, Ben Williams, Tarek Yamani.

The United Nations is recognizing Jazz!  So, I know you are listening every day but on April 30, listen more, share with friends/family, play and support musicians by buying their music!

April 22 — Just arrived in Paris to get ready for the inaugural gala concert to launch World Jazz Day!   have been arranging the music for the program with a great lineup:  See UNESCO announcement. And, if you are in Paris, New York or New Orleans…go to the venues as there are lots of FREE activities:  films, photos, workshops, concerts!!!

UNESCO – Announcement – World Jazz Day

The celebration will kick-off on April 27 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris with a daylong series of jazz education programs and performances. An evening concert will feature Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Marcus Miller, Hugh Masekela, Lionel Loueke, Tania Maria, Barbara Hendricks, Gerald Clayton, Terri Lyne Carrington, China Moses, Ben Williams, Antonio Hart, and others. John Beasley will serve as Musical Director. The daytime events will include master classes, photo exhibitions, film screenings, roundtable discussions, improvisational workshops, and live performances.

International Jazz Day will be celebrated by millions worldwide on Monday, April 30 and will begin with a sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz.

The worldwide programs and events will conclude in New York City at the United Nations General Assembly Hall with an historic sunset concert certain to be one of the most heralded jazz celebrations of all time.  George Duke will serve as Musical Director. Co-Hosts include Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones.

Interview for UNESCO:

Who are your favorite jazz greats?

I admire the musicians who dare to be original.  Those who expanded the jazz horizon and allowed us to swim further such as Herbie Hancock, Ouincy Jones, Thad Jones and Miles Davis, my idols when I was growing up.

Why is it important for young people today to learn about jazz?

Jazz is such free music, so if young people learn jazz they can write/arrange/play without feeling they need to follow a structure.  Classic jazz is a bridge to the new, so have courage to discover the unfamiliar.

What is your most memorable jazz ‘moment’?

Every rehearsal and concert with Miles and Freddie Hubbard are engrained in my memory.  I learned so much from them.  Also, performing with James Brown in front of 12,000 fans at the Hollywood Bowl is seared in memory.  I also played a piano concerto for 4 hands with my dad and my mom conducting the orchestra with my two-month old daughter in the audience.

Do you think that music (and jazz in particular) can promote peace and tolerance?

My wife works for Doctors Without Borders and I hear stories about war and intolerance in the Congo, Syria, Myanmar and many parts of the world where the group works.  She always reminds me how important music is for the doctors and nurses who work in refugee camps and remote hospitals.  They come home from a long hard day and listen to music to wind down.  So, music promotes peace of mind for them.  I can only imagine that they take the benefits from this good feeling and extend this to their patients.

Why do you think a day like International Jazz Day is important?

Jazz got a World Day! Now that’s a big achievement, because this genre of music needs and deserves more attention, more celebration, more devotion.  We need more jazz ambassadors to bring this music to the next generation from Nigeria to Nepal and see how it transforms and transcends people.

What is one action the public could do to promote Jazz Day or the values of jazz?

Discover at least one new song that day, listen, play, go to a concert, and buy music.

Do you think jazz brings together people from different cultures? Can you give examples from your personal experience?  

I started my touring career with Sergio Mendes learning from Brazilian masters like Ivan Lins.  Had a once-in-a lifetime chance to work with James Brown playing his 1965 jazz vocal jazz record with Oliver Nelson arrangements @ the Hollywood Bowl – soulful jazz!

I will never forget the time working with the spirited Baaba Maal from Senegal.  And, a year ago, my mind was truly broaden when I worked with the Indian guru, A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire)  as MD for his world tour.   We shared our love of jazz and talked about how it has influenced our own music.   And then there’s the audience – I’ve seen people from Amsterdam to South Africa to Japan swinging along.  Jazz does bring people together.


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