UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will collaborate to recognize jazz music as a universal language of freedom Paris and Washington, D.C. – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock are pleased to announce the third annual International Jazz Day, which will be celebrated around the world on April 30, 2014. Osaka, Japan has been selected to serve as the 2014 Global Host City. Presented each year on April 30th in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day encourages and highlights intercultural dialogue and understanding through jazz, uniting people in all corners of the globe. The celebration is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations.
“Jazz embodies the spirit of UNESCO,” said its Director-General, Irina Bokova. “It brings people together and builds peace, tolerance and understanding. It has been the soundtrack for positive social change, from the fight against racism to the struggle for democracy.”
The 2014 International Jazz Day celebration will kick off in Osaka, Japan on April 30th with a daylong series of jazz education programs, performances, and community outreach. An evening All-Star Global Concert at Japan’s treasured outdoor Osaka Castle Park will feature performances by Toshiko Akiyoshi, John Beasley (Musical Director), Kris Bowers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Theo Croker, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo, Roberta Gambarini, Kenny Garrett, James Genus, Roy Hargrove, Lalah Hathaway, Terumasa Hino, Earl Klugh, Marcus Miller, T.S. Monk, Gregory Porter, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Lew Tabackin, Steve Turre and other internationally acclaimed artists, with further details to be announced shortly.
The concert from Osaka will be streamed live worldwide via the UNESCO, U.S. Department of State, and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites. Daytime events in Osaka will include master classes, roundtable discussions, improvisational workshops, and education programs led by world-renowned jazz musicians, educators, and diplomats.
Given its legendary history as Japan’s “jazz mecca” in the early to mid 1920s, Osaka is an ideal choice to serve as the International Jazz Day Global Host City. Osaka’s major early figures in jazz include composer Hattori Ryōichi and trumpeter Nanri Fumio, nicknamed the “Satchmo of Japan” by Louis Armstrong. Today, the city continues to play an important role in the ongoing development of jazz in Japan.
According to Ambassador Hancock, “Music has always served as a bridge between different cultures, and no musical art form is more effective as a diplomatic tool than jazz. On International Jazz Day, jazz is celebrated, studied, and performed around the world for 24 hours straight. Collaborations abound among jazz icons, scholars, composers, musicians, dancers, writers, and thinkers who embrace the beauty, spirit, and principles of jazz, freely sharing experiences and performances in our big cities and in our small towns, all across our seven continents.”
The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is once again working with UNESCO and its field offices, national commissions, networks, Associated Schools, universities and institutes, public radio and public television, as well as NGOs to ensure their involvement and participation in International Jazz Day 2014. Additionally, in countries throughout the world, libraries, schools and universities, performing arts venues, community centers, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines will be celebrating the day through presentations, concerts, and other jazz-focused activities. Programs already have been confirmed in more than 140 countries and on every continent.
Tom Carter, President of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, said, “Each of the past two International Jazz Day celebrations reached more than one billion people through jazz performances, education and outreach programs, and media coverage in all 195 UNESCO Member States. This is a phenomenal figure and we believe even more people will participate in 2014.” Coinciding with this year’s International Jazz Day, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA)will issue postage stamps and a souvenir card to commemorate International Jazz Day on April 30th, 2014. Designed by UNPA Art Director Sergio Baradat, the stamps will be issued in U.S. dollars, Swiss francs and Euros. For more information, visit www.unstamps.org.
The designation of International Jazz Day is intended to bring together communities, schools and other groups the world over to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots and its impact. Ultimately, it seeks to foster intercultural dialogue and raise public awareness about the role of jazz music in promoting the universal values of UNESCO’s mandate. As a language of freedom across the board, jazz promotes social inclusion, enhancing understanding, tolerance and nurturing creativity.
For more information about International Jazz Day and to register events on the official website, please visit www.jazzday.com or www.unesco.org/jazzday.