The Influence Of Jazz

On April 30th, International Jazz Day occurs each year with the aim to bring together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact.

April 30th was officially designated International Jazz Day in 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is chaired by UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and renowned jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.

Each year this day has the aim of promoting dialogue among cultures, diversity and respect for human rights by eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

In 2021, more than 190 countries participated in the worldwide celebration, with an All-Star Global Concert which featured artists performing from cities across the world. With segments shot on-location in Los Angeles, London, Monaco, Paris, Cape Town, Tokyo and Rio De Janeiro, among other locations, the 2021 concert showcased the universality of jazz.

Hosted by Academy Award Winner Michael Douglas from UN Headquarters in New York and with artistic direction from Herbie Hancock and musical direction from John Beasley, the concert featured a variety of renowned artists from over 20 counties. In the lead-up to the All-Star Global Concert, students of all ages around the world benefitted from a series of free virtual education programs with acclaimed educators, musicians and public figures.

Anyone can participate in the celebrations with no cost, no application and no prerequisites. The only requirement is that you are passionate about celebrating jazz and its positive values, and ready to bring that enthusiasm to your community through independently organised events of any size!

The checklist as detailed on their website (jazzday.com) to become an official International Jazz Day partner is:

  1. Plan your April 30th Event (there is a useful list of examples on their website)
  2. Register your planned program by filling out and submitting a form via the website
  3. Download their free branding resources to visually link your promotional materials to International Jazz Day
  4. Follow International Jazz Day on social media to stay up to date with the latest news
  5. Engage with them on social media by sharing updates of your event by using the official International Jazz day hashtag, #JazzDay

According to National Museum of American History, Jazz developed in the United States in the very early part of the 20th Century, with New Orleans playing a key role in this development. The city’s population was more diverse than anywhere else in the South, and people of African, French, Caribbean, Italian, German, Mexican, and American Indian, as well as English descent interacted with one another.

African-American musical traditions mixed with others and gradually jazz emerged from a blend of ragtime, marches, blues, and other kinds of music. After the first recordings of jazz were made in 1917, the music spread widely and developed rapidly. The evolution of jazz was led by a series of brilliant musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Jazz developed a series of different styles including traditional jazz, swing, bebop, cool jazz, and jazz rock, among others. At the same time, jazz spread from the United States to many parts of the world, and today jazz musicians – and jazz festivals – can be found in dozens of nations.