[JPL] Hancock launches International Jazz Day

Jim Eigo jim at jazzpromoservices.com
Tue Mar 20 10:02:08 EDT 2012


Hancock launches International Jazz Day
zz-day/#>  | March 20, 2012 06:47 AM EST |
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NEW YORK ‹ Ambassador Herbie Hancock believes what the world needs is a
little jazz diplomacy.
The renowned jazz pianist's first major initiative since being named a
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador last July is to establish International Jazz Day
to be held on April 30 of every year. That date coincides with the last day
of what has been celebrated as Jazz Appreciation Month in the U.S.
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.
Hancock said he had little difficulty lining up 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 said in a telephone interview ahead of Tuesday'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."
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova endorsed the initiative. In a
statement, she said International Jazz Day is intended to bring together
people all over the world "to celebrate and learn more about the art of
jazz, its roots and its impact, and to highlight its important role as a
means of communication that transcends differences."

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.
Hancock will begin the April 30 celebrations with a sunrise concert at New
Orleans' Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz, which comes right after the
first weekend of the city's Jazz and Heritage Festival.
The concert will present local jazz luminaries Terence Blanchard, Ellis
Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, Kermit Ruffins and the Treme Brass Brand.
Hancock plans to perform his funky standard "Watermelon Man" with high
school students from around the world via an Internet link.
He then will fly to New York for a sunset all-star jazz concert for the
international diplomatic corps at the U.N. General Assembly Hall to be
hosted by Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas and Quincy Jones.
The concert will be streamed live via the U.N. and UNESCO websites.
Its lineup already includes Hancock, Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne
Shorter, Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Jack DeJohnette, Derek
Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and Jimmy Heath. The Americans will be joined by an
international cast of musicians spanning different genres, including Richard
Bona (Cameroon), Hiromi Uehara (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Angelique
Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), and Romero Lubambo (Brazil).
Hancock sees his latest initiative as an extension of his 2010 CD, the
double Grammy-winning "The Imagine Project," a globe-trotting, genre-mixing
effort that featured a United Nations of pop and world music stars from 10
"I hope that this day spreads the joy of spontaneous creation that exists in
this music," Hancock said. "My feeling is that jazz will be getting its just

On 3/20/12 8:22 AM, "EdBride at aol.com" <EdBride at aol.com> wrote:

> It's more about the way Americans think than the way we listen. Fascinating
>  bit of pop psychology.
> Ed
> In a message dated 3/20/2012 12:55:07 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> jumpmonk at hotmail.com writes:
> sorry to  disagree, Jae. i find the entire piece to be a weak, unsupported,
> less than  persuasive argument. it's laughably naive to make broad swath
> assertions about  entire musical cultures based on such flimsy evidence.
> --
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