Jazz Artists Celebrate Jazz

Artists From Across the Globe Celebrate Jazz as a Universal Language of Freedom During International Jazz Day 2013 

 by VERGE Staff | Music and Culture | Monday, May 6, 2013

"Using jazz as a tool, I have faith that the music...will demonstrate that barriers can be broken, unity can be achieved, new forms of expression can be created, and a dialogue between cultures can begin." -Herbie Hancock, Musician and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador 

intl jazz day

An all-star ensemble of musicians from across the globe
gathered in Istanbul to celebrate International Jazz Day 2013.

In a unique series of events worldwide, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz joined together to celebrate jazz as a universal language of freedom during International Jazz Day on April 30th. With events taking place in every country on the planet, International Jazz Day 2013 culminated in an evening concert that was viewed live by millions around the world at Istanbul's Hagia Irene.

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools and groups from across the globe to celebrate jazz, learn about its roots and highlight its important role as a form of communication that transcends differences. "Jazz shows the wealth that rises from diversity," remarked Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO. "This music draws strength from a rich mix of peoples and cultures, and it is woven today into the fabric of every society, played across the world, enjoyed everywhere." 

Featured Artists during International Jazz Day 2013

Pianists: Herbie Hancock, John Beasley (Musical Director), George Duke, Robert Glasper, Ramsey Lewis, Keiko Matsui and Eddie Palmieri 

Vocalists: Ruben Blades, Al Jarreau, Milton Nascimento, Dianne Reeves, Esperanza Spalding (who also played bass) and Joss Stone 

Trumpeters: Terence Blanchard, Hugh Masekela and Imer Demirer 

Bassists: James Genus, Marcus Miller and Ben Williams

Drummers: Terri Lyne Carrington and Vinnie Colaiuta 

Guitarists: Bilal Karaman, John McLaughlin, Lee Ritenour and Joe Louis Walker 

Saxophonists: Dale Barlow, Igor Butman, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter and Liu Yuan 

Clarinetists: Anat Cohen and Husnu Senlendirici 

Violinist: Jean-Luc Ponty 

Percussionist: Pedrito Martinez 

Tabla Master: Zakir Hussain 

Trombonist: Alevtina Polyakova 

Special guest: Martin Luther King III

In partnership with the Republic of Turkey, the all-star evening concert was held at Istanbul's famed Hagia Irene.  Dating back to the 4th century, the Hagia Irene, located in the outer courtyard of the Topkapi Palace – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is regarded as an international treasure for music lovers because of its brilliant atmosphere and enchanting acoustics.  In addition to being streamed live worldwide at www.jazzday.com and via the UNESCO, United Nations, U.S. State Department and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites, the concert was also taped for future broadcast on public television stations around the world.  

"Using jazz as a tool, I have faith that the music – either through playing an instrument, learning about its rich cultural history, or listening to the millions of recordings made over the past century – will demonstrate that barriers can be broken, unity can be achieved, new forms of expression can be created, and a dialogue between cultures can begin.  From my decades long career as a jazz musician, I know first hand that inventive ideas can achieve the impossible, transform humanity, and make productive changes at the grass roots level," said Herbie Hancock, Musician and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.   

As the Global Host City for International Jazz Day 2013, Istanbul also featured concerts, lectures, round tables, workshops, and Q&A sessions with high-profile educators and musicians throughout the city. All of these daytime programs were free and open to the public with panel discussions focusing on "Jazz and Freedom," "Jazz and Women" and "Jazz Festivals and the Art of Promoting Jazz." Lectures included "The History of Jazz" and "Dave Brubeck and Diplomacy."

International Jazz Day was adopted by UNESCO Member States on the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, in order to encourage and highlight jazz's unique power for advancing intercultural dialogue and understanding across the world.  International Jazz Day is recognized on the official calendars of UNESCO and the United Nations. Libraries, schools, performing arts centers, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines throughout the world are being encouraged to celebrate the day through education programs, presentations, concerts and other jazz-focused activities.

For more information about International Jazz Day, visit the websites at: www.unesco.org/days/jazzday and www.jazzday.com.

Source and photo credit: Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz 


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