Paris Takes Center Stage on International Jazz Day

Paris has been selected to serve as the 2015 Global Host City for the fourth annual International Jazz Day organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and celebrated around the world on April 30.

Presented in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and featuring Herbie Hancock as Goodwill Ambassador, International Jazz Day encourages and highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promoting intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, uniting people from around the globe.

Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador
Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

The 2015 International Jazz Day celebration will kick off in Paris on April 30 with a daylong series of jazz education programs, performances and community outreach. An evening All-Star Global Concert at UNESCO Headquarters in the 7th arrondissement will feature performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russia), Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Ibrahim Maalouf (Lebanon), Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Marcus Miller, Guillaume Perret (France), Dianne Reeves, Claudio Roditi (Brazil), Wayne Shorter, Dhafer Youssef (Tunisia) and many other internationally acclaimed artists. John Beasley will serve as the evening’s Musical Director. Further details about the concert can be found here.

The concert from Paris will be streamed live worldwide via the UNESCO, U.S. Department of State and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites. Daytime events in Paris will include master classes, roundtable discussions, improvisational workshops and education programs led by world-renowned jazz musicians, educators and diplomats. In addition to the All-Star Concert, multiple evening concerts and performances will take place across the city of Paris.

Thelonious Monk, Jr.
Thelonious Monk, Jr.

Given its legendary place in jazz history, Paris is an ideal choice to serve as the International Jazz Day Global Host City. The city’s major figures in jazz include guitarist Django Reinhardt, vocalists Edith Piaf and Josephine Baker, violinists Jean-Luc Ponty and Stéphane Grappelli, and many more. Today, Paris continues to play an important role in the ongoing development of jazz as a musical art form at jazz clubs such as Au Duc des Lombards, Le Baiser Salé, Caveau des Oubliettes, Caveau de la Huchette, Sunset/Sunrise, Le Café Universel, New Morning, Jazz Club Etoile, Caveau des Légendes, Le Petit Journal Montparnasse and many other venues.

“Jazz means dialogue, reaching out to others, bringing everyone on board,” said UNESCO Director-General Bokova. “It means respecting the human rights and dignity of every woman and man, no matter their background. It means understanding others, letting them speak, listening in the spirit of respect. All this is why we join together to celebrate jazz—this music of freedom is a force for peace, and its messages have never been more vital than they are today, in times of turbulence, in the year when we celebrate the 70 anniversary of UNESCO.”

Jean-Luc Ponty
Jean-Luc Ponty

Ambassador Hancock said, “Every single country on all seven continents will shine the spotlight on jazz for 24 hours straight, sharing the beauty, passion, and ethics of the music. Educators, visual artists, writers, philosophers, intellectuals, dancers, musicians of all ages and skill levels, photographers, filmmakers, videographers, bloggers and jazz enthusiasts will participate in Jazz Day by openly exchanging ideas through performances, education programs, and other creative endeavors.”

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is once again working with UNESCO and its field offices, national commissions, networks, Associated Schools, universities and institutes, public radio and public television stations and NGOs to ensure their involvement and participation in International Jazz Day 2015.

Additionally, in countries throughout the world, libraries, schools, universities, performing arts venues, community centers, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines will be celebrating the day through presentations, concerts, and other jazz-focused programs. As in past years, it is anticipated that programs will be confirmed in all 196 UN and UNESCO member countries.

Ultimately, International Jazz Day seeks to foster intercultural dialogue and raise public awareness about the role of jazz music in promoting the universal values of UNESCO’s mandate. As a language of freedom, jazz promotes social inclusion, enhancing understanding and tolerance, and nurturing creativity.

For more information about International Jazz Day and to register for events on the official website, visit www.jazzday.com.

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