Fourth International Jazz Day

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock Announce Fourth Annual International Jazz Day


Press Release

Performance and outreach programs to take place worldwide on April 30, recognizing jazz music as a universal language of freedom.

International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert in Global Host City Paris, France, will be a highlight of UNESCO’s 70th Anniversary Celebration

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 fourth annual International Jazz Day, which will be celebrated around the world on April 30, 2015. Paris, France has been selected to serve as the 2015 Global Host City. Presented each year on April 30th in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day encourages and highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promoting intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, uniting people from all corners of the globe. The celebration is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations, and this year will be a significant part of UNESCO’s 70th Anniversary celebration.

According to Director-General Bokova, “Jazz means dialogue, reaching out to others, bringing everyone on board. It means respecting the human rights and dignity of every woman and man, no matter their background. It means understanding others, letting them speak, listening in the spirit of respect. All this is why we join together to celebrate jazz – this music of freedom is a force for peace, and its messages have never been more vital than they are today, in times of turbulence, in the year when we celebrate the 70th anniversary of UNESCO. This All-Star Concert will be a major moment in a turning point year.”

The 2015 International Jazz Day celebration will kick off in Paris, France on April 30th with a daylong series of jazz education programs, performances, and community outreach. An evening All-Star Global Concert at UNESCO Headquarters will feature stellar performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russia), Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Ibrahim Maalouf (Lebanon), Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Marcus Miller, Guillaume Perret (France), Dianne Reeves, Claudio Roditi (Brazil), Wayne Shorter, Dhafer Youssef (Tunisia) and many other internationally acclaimed artists, with further details to be announced shortly. John Beasley will serve as the evening’s Musical Director.

“On April 30th, there will be a worldwide celebration honoring jazz,” said Ambassador Hancock. “Every single country on all seven continents will shine the spotlight on jazz for 24 hours straight, sharing the beauty, passion, and ethics of the music. Educators, visual artists, writers, philosophers, intellectuals, dancers, musicians of all ages and skill levels, photographers, filmmakers, videographers, bloggers and jazz enthusiasts will participate in Jazz Day by openly exchanging ideas through performances, education programs, and other creative endeavors.”

The concert from Paris will be streamed live worldwide via the UNESCO, U.S. Department of State, and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites. Daytime events in Paris will include master classes, roundtable discussions, improvisational workshops, and education programs led by world-renowned jazz musicians, educators, and diplomats. In addition to the All-Star Concert, multiple evening concerts and performances will take place across the city of Paris.

Given its legendary place in jazz history, Paris is an ideal choice to serve as the International Jazz Day Global Host City. The city’s major figures in jazz include guitarist Django Reinhardt, vocalists Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker, violinists Jean-Luc Ponty and Stéphane Grappelli, and many more. Today, Paris continues to play an important role in the ongoing development of jazz as a musical art form.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, “Jazz has always been at home in Paris, a city of culture, music and creativity. I am particularly thrilled that our city will be hosting and welcoming International Jazz Day in 2015, a year which will, I hope, reaffirm the fundamental values of fraternity and solidarity. Paris is honored to welcome the most talented musicians in the world on this day. And I am even more happy that this International Jazz Day will allow Paris to be at the heart of the celebrations of the 70th Anniversary of UNESCO. By emphasizing the educational role of culture, International Jazz Day fully illustrates the objectives and the convictions of this essential organization.”

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 stations, and NGOs to ensure their involvement and participation in International Jazz Day 2015. Additionally, in countries throughout the world, libraries, schools, 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 programs. As in past years, it is anticipated that programs will be confirmed in all 196 UN and UNESCO member countries and on every continent.

Tom Carter, President of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, said, “We are most grateful to the leadership and citizens of Paris for welcoming and hosting International Jazz Day in their magnificent city. As we approach our 4th celebration, International Jazz Day has become a worldwide movement and global phenomenon. Reaching over 2 billion people through performances and educational programs, we are proud and honored that Jazz Day is celebrated in all UNESCO Member States.”

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, International Jazz Day 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, jazz promotes social inclusion, enhancing understanding and tolerance, and nurturing creativity.