International Jazz Day will celebrate its 10th anniversary on April 30, highlighted by the All-Star Global Concert. Hosted by Academy- and Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas from the United Nations headquarters in New York, the virtual evening event will feature Herbie Hancock, Academy Award-nominee Andra Day, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jacob Collier, Marcus Miller and Angélique Kidjo, among other artists.
That same evening, the virtual concert will be followed by the premiere of a national PBS special, International Jazz Day 10th Anniversary Celebration. The two-hour retrospective (9 p.m./8 p.m. central; check local PBS listings)) will encompass memorable Jazz Day performances curated from the last 10 years.
Hosts Morgan Freeman, Will Smith and Helen Mirren will introduce clips showcasing legends such as Aretha Franklin, Wayne Shorter, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Chaka Khan, Annie Lennox, Sting and Hugh Masekela.
“Our International Jazz Day community has displayed incredible resilience, creativity, ingenuity and compassion throughout the immense challenges of the past year,” said Hancock in announcing the annual event. “While the global pandemic continues to make life difficult for so many around the world, the example of organizers from Nepal to Mexico to Cameroon inspires us to greet this historic 10th anniversary milestone with joy, courage and hope for the future of jazz.”
Grammy Award-winning artist Hancock also serves as artistic director and John Beasley as musical director of the All-Star Global Concert, whose slate of jazz performers represents more than 20 countries. In addition to New York, performances will take place in Los Angeles, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Cape Town, Moscow, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, among other cities. The concert will be presented as a live webcast (5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT) via YouTube, Facebook, jazzday.com, UN Web TV, UNESCO and U.S. State Department outlets.
UNESCO, in partnership with the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, has orchestrated a series of performances, educational workshops/master classes, community service outreach, panel discussions and radio and television broadcasts during the day on April 30. Taking place in all 50 U.S. states and more than 190 countries, all of the events will follow recommended public health guidelines.
“UNESCO created International Jazz Day to share the values of a deeply meaningful musical genre,” commented UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Today we need jazz more than ever. We need its values, based on human dignity and the fight against racism and all forms of oppression. It is so much more than music. Jazz is the kind of bridge builder we need in the world today.”
Launched in 2011 by UNESCO, International Jazz Day is held every year on April 30 in a different locale around the world. Cape Town, South Africa was the planned host city in 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to shift to a virtual celebration for the first time in the event’s history.
Toyota is the 2021 lead partner for International Jazz Day; transportation partner is United Airlines. A complete list of events, including the free virtual educational programs, can be found at www.jazzday.com or www.unesco.org/jazzday.