The initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, will make us in the future celebrate the 30th April as International Jazz Day, a music ganre standing for universal language of tolerance and freedom.
This was the first major initiative of American composer and pianist since being named Goodwill Ambassador by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization last July.
In partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz which Hancock chairs there will be organized concerts in Paris, New Orlens and New York, as well as jazz related events in several dozen countries from Algeria to Uruguay celebrating this international day.
Hancock said he had no difficulty lining up support for his proposal from the 195-member U.N. cultural organization because jazz stands for the voice of peace. “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”, said the 14 Grammy Award winner.
The official celebration beginning on 27th April at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris with an all-day program, the evening concert will feature Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Hugh Masekela among others.
Hancock will begin the April 30 celebrations with a sunrise concert at New Orleans’ Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz. The concert will present local jazz luminaries and Hancock plans to perform his composition “Watermelon Man” with high school students from around the world via an Internet link.
There will be a concert at the U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York the same day featuring American artists: Hancock, Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Jack DeJohnette, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and Jimmy Heath, hosted by Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas and Quincy Jones. The concert will be streamed live via the U.N. and UNESCO websites.
“I hope that this day spreads the joy of spontaneous creation that exists in this music,” Hancock said. “My feeling is that jazz will be getting what it deserves.”