“A sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, from which jazz arose, in celebration of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day (spearheaded by Herbie Hancock), kicked off the International Jazz Day (Dr. Michael White took the last solo, over the Dirty Dozen Brass Band) at Jazzday.com and at the Thelonious Monk Institute website. Those platforms will also feature tonight’s 7:30 pm EDT concert from UN headquarters in New York City.
This evening’s concert features all-stars: pianist Hancock joined by Tony Bennett, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona (Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Robert Cray, Eli Degibri (Israel), Jack DeJohnette, Sheila E., Jimmy Heath, Zakir Hussain (India), Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Shankar Mahadevan (India), Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Christian McBride, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Hiromi (Japan), and others. George Duke will serve as Musical Director. Confirmed Co-Hosts include Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones.
The Jazz Journlists Association, in conjunction with Jazz Day, has run an international blogathon with several dozen posts about local jazz scenes in New Zealand, Kuwait, Taiwan, Finland, Moscow, Ottawa and elsewhere including all over the U.S. Such showings as Jazz Day inspires may or may not result be great music, but UNESCO’s Jazz Day is definitely a highly visible endorsement of jazz as a unique, significant, international art form. May jazz long endure, among people who are free.”
From Howard Mandel
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1959: The Year that Changed Jazz
Part 2, Part 3, part 4
1959. It was a pivotal year for jazz. Musicians started breaking away from bebop, exploring new, experimental forms. And four absolutely canonical LPs were recorded that year: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis; Time Out by Dave Brubeck; Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus; and The Shape of Jazz to Come by Ornette Coleman. 1959 also found America on the cusp of great social and political upheaval. Integration, Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis — they were all coming around the bend, and sometimes figures like Mingus and Coleman commented musically on these events.
This transformative period gets nicely covered by the recent BBC documentary, 1959: The Year that Changed Jazz. The outtake above focuses on Ornette Coleman and his innovative work as a free jazz musician. If it whets your appetite, you can dive into the full program on YouTube. The documentary featuring interviews with Brubeck, Coleman, Lou Reed, and Herbie Hancock is available in four parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. It runs roughly 60 minutes and there are various versions on the web.
International Jazz Day 2012, UNESCO Headquarters
4 minutes can’t capture the exhilarating richness of the 1st ever Intl Jazz Day festivities at UNESCO’s headquarters. We share some memorable moments here of master classes with jazz greats like Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater & Marcus Miller; conversations about jazz as a cultural & democratic force; and concerts by jazz artists from around the globe.
Embassy Jazz Day: An International Jazz Day Celebration
Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer, the Smithsonian Institution’s Under Secretary for History, Art and Culture Richard Kurin, and Interim Director of the National Museum of American History Marc Pachter co-hosted Embassy Jazz Day: Crossing Borders, Bridging Cultures. This special collaboration celebrates the American origins of jazz and its continuing appeal to people across the globe, in the context of Jazz Appreciation Month (April) and the inaugural International Jazz Day (April 30).
Embassy Jazz Day featured performances by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Howard University’s Afro Blue, vocalist Lena Seikaly, and Latin jazz artist Felix Contreras. The program, which includes a panel discussion on the continuing relevance of jazz, began at 2:00, and was be webcast for public and media audiences by the National Museum of American History.