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International Jazz Day

Blog
International Jazz Day

24.04.2019

A reminder and more: International Jazz Day

Text: Cem Kayıran

International Jazz Day might not have a very long history, but this annual day, which was created to celebrate jazz’s cultural legacy, is expanding its reach more and more every year. Founded by the legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, International Jazz Day is celebrated around the globe on 30th April.

The main motivation for International Jazz Day is to ‘‘highlight jazz’s important diplomatic role to bring people from around the world together.’’ International Jazz Day, which is organized by The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz under the leadership of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, became official in 2011. Since Smithsonian Institution has already chose April as the ‘‘Jazz Appreciation Month’’, International Jazz Day ended up being the last day of April.

International Jazz Day is hosted by a different city every year, and over the course of years the events have spread over 200 countries. Every year, the host cities become the center of the jazz with educational programs by famous musicians and the famous All Star Global Concert event, which usually takes place at a historically significant venue, with the participation of musicians from over 20 countries.

"This is really about the international diplomatic aspect of jazz and how it has throughout a major part of its history been a major force in bringing people of various countries and cultures together." – Herbie Hancock

All of the events that take place on International Jazz Day in over 200 countries are digitally available at jazzday.com. The website offers a chance to observe the International Jazz Day events from Nepal to Iran, Brazil to New Zealand, and to discover new sounds from around the world. It is also possible to access the workshops and educational programs that take place on International Jazz Day.  

In 2012, International Jazz Day was celebrated for the first time with events that took place in three cities. In Paris, at the UNESCO HQ, Herbie Hancock presented an educational seminar and a concert; while the jazz capitals of the United States, New Orleans and New York, hosted glorified celebrations with the participation of legends like Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder. The amazing atmosphere of the first International Jazz Day celebrations paved the way for more countries adopting the day to organize their own celebrations.

“I think that’s the strongest message out of all this: music is humanity and that’s what we’re trying to bring first.” – Richard Bona

At the second year, UNESCO and The Thelonious Monk Institute chose Istanbul as the host city for International Jazz Day. Venues and institutions such as Akbank Sanat, Galatasaray Highschool, Borusan Music House and SALT organized various special academic programs and concerts, while the All Star concert took place at Hagia Irene Church. Musicians such as Al Jarreau, Branford Marsalis, John McLaughlin, Joss Stone and Hüsnü Şenlendirici were among the names that took the stage for performances.

The following years, International Jazz Day was hosted in Osaka, Paris, Washington, Havana and Saint Petersburg. In 2019, the capital of jazz will be Melbourne in Australia. The events will spread all over the city, from radios and train stations to record stores and schools.
The prestigious Hammer Hall at the Melbourne Art Centre will be hosting the All Star concert, which will be directed by the famous trumpeter James Morrison as well as the participation of names like Kurt Elling, Till Brönner, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nathan Schreiber, Tarek Yamani and Chico Pinheiro. We should note that the concert is going to be aired live from YouTube and Facebook.

The following week after International Jazz Day, there will also be a festival, ‘‘Generations in Jazz’’, with the participation of 6.000 high school students. The festival, which will take place at Mount Gambier in South Australia, is going to be the biggest young generation jazz festival to date.

On 30 April 2019, Akbank Sanat will also host a special performance as part of International Jazz Day celebrations. Two musicians who have crossed paths for Şevket Akıncı’s Take the A.I.D Train project, Selen Gülün and Angelika Niescier will be on the Akbank Sanat stage. The duo will perform their original compositions that expand into different territories of jazz. If you are jazz fan, you should save the date.

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