The world marks International Jazz Day on 30 April every year. The day aims to raise awareness about the importance of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for promoting peace and dialogue among people from diverse cultures. The day also marks the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which highlights the heritage of the music.
The day focuses on developing respect greater appreciation not only for the music, but also for its contribution in building more inclusive societies. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) believes jazz to be "a force for peace, dialogue and mutual understanding".
Jazz is seen as a means for freedom of expression as well as a tool for empowering young people from marginalized societies by the global body. It also sees the musical tradition as a means to reduce tensions between individuals, groups, and communities all over the globe.
In November 2011, the UNESCO General Conference declared 30 April as International Jazz Day to highlight the role of the music in bringing people together. The celebrations are led by Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, and legendary jazz composer Herbie Hancock. Hancock is the Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, as well as the UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue.
History of International Jazz Day
Herbie Hancock had stated his plan to create an international day honoring the significance of jazz after he was named the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue on 22 July 2011. The day was designated by the UNESCO in November 2011 and later recognised by a formal vote in the UN General Assembly.
To celebrate the day, governments, civil society organisations, educational institutions, and private citizens engage in the promotion of jazz and utilise the opportunity to foster a greater appreciation for the musical tradition.
A global concert will also be held at the UN headquarters in New York, hosted by Herbie Hancock. Musicians such as Marcus Miller, Gregory Porter, Hiromi, Pedrito Martínez, David Sanborn, Ravi Coltrane, José James, Terri Lyne Carrington, Shemekia Copeland, Lizz Wright and Linda Oh will take part in the event.