Some might argue that every day ought to be Jazz Day. I won't quibble with that ideal.
But a month in which we are asked to help raise the general public's jazz consciousness is a great thing.
There are many ways to get involved - without any great fanfare.
- Go to one or two more concerts than you might otherwise.
- Buy a CD.
- Support your local musicians.
More on International Jazz Day, which is April 30.. It began last year with a lot of UNESCO support for an idea hatched by Herbie Hancock and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. Ceremonies and all-star concerts took place in Paris, New Orleans and at UN headquarters New York City.
International Jazz Day is designed to bring together communities, schools and groups from across the world to celebrate jazz and its role as a means of communication that transcends differences.
This year’s principal events will take place in Istanbul, Turkey. Other celebrations, concerts and educational programs are scheduled around the globe. More than 170 events have been organized in more than 30 countries, including Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Cuba, Denmark, the Republic of Korea, France, Gabon, Malaysia, Mexico, Swazililand and Trinidad and Tobago.
The evening concert at Istanbul's famed Hagia Irene will feature performances by stellar musicians from around the world, including - among many - Igor Butman, Terri Lyne Carrington, Anat Cohen, Robert Glasper, Herbie Hancock, Abdullah Ibrahim, Al Jarreau, Hugh Masekela, Pedro Martinez, Keiko Matsui, John McLaughlin, Milton Nascimento, Jean-Luc Ponty, Dianne Reeves, Christian Scott and Wayne Shorter. The concert will be streamed live on the internet via Jazzday.com, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, UNESCO and U.S. State Department websites, and will be taped for future broadcast on public television stations around the world.
Monk Institute Chairman and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock calls this initiative a way “to encourage and highlight jazz's unique power for advancing intercultural dialogue and understanding across the world.”
That power has been at work since 1956. That's when Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck and others went on State Department tours to Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East as Jazz Ambassadors.