This year’s inaugural event — organized by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which Hancock chairs — will include star-studded concerts in Paris, New Orleans and New York as well as jazz-related events in several dozen countries from Algeria to Uruguay, reports the AP.
Hancock said it was easy getting support for his proposal from the 195-member U.N. cultural organization “because so many countries have been affected in crucial ways over the years by the presence of jazz.”
“Jazz has been the voice of freedom for so many countries over the past half century,” Hancock told AP ahead of today’s official announcement of International Jazz Day. “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.”
The official kick-off will be on April 27 with an all-day program at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris that will include master classes, roundtable discussions and improvisational workshops. An evening concert will feature Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, South Africa’s Hugh Masekela and Brazil’s Tania Maria, among others.