|A composite of the top performers on International Jazz Day.|
(Courtesy of the organizers.)
As the disease spread, with nations implementing lockdowns, organizers had to scramble to reschedule the musical event and especially the flagship Global Concert, which was initially slated to take place in Cape Town, South Africa.
Instead of cancelling the show, the main organizers - the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz and the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO - decided to put it online.
Renowned pianist Hancock will host the Global Concert, which will feature artists from across the globe, including A Bu, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John McLaughlin, Ben Williams, Youn Sun Nah, and Dianne Reeves. The presentations will be streamed live on jazzday.com.
“These are unprecedented times for world citizens, and we are most grateful for the support, understanding and partnership of our Jazz Day community,” stated Hancock, who is a UNESCO goodwill ambassador for intercultural dialogue and co-chair of International Jazz Day.
|Herbie Hancock (centre) at a previous Jazz Day concert.|
“Armed with optimism, patience and grace, we’ll work through these challenges as families, communities, countries and as a stronger united world,” he added.
Hancock called on the public to use the “ethics of Jazz Day’s global movement” to reconnect, “especially in the midst of all this isolation and uncertainty”.
International Jazz Day was established in 2011 on Hancock’s initiative and recognized by the UN General Assembly, with the aim of celebrating jazz and highlighting the music's “important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination and promoting human dignity”.
Since then, the Global Concert has been held at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters, at the White House (hosted by then U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama), and in New Orleans and other cities.
As in earlier years - prior to the main event - this ninth edition offers educational masterclasses, children’s activities and discussions via web conference featuring prominent educators and jazz artists. All this will be streamed live via a special UNESCO link: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/jazzday.
|John Beasley (photo: McKenzie)|
New York-based jazz radio station WBGO will also host a panel focusing on how International Jazz Day, and art in general, “can respond to the social isolation precipitated by the current public health crisis”, according to organizers. The panel will comprise artists such as award-winning bassist and composer Marcus Miller and South African vocalist Sibongile Khumalo. A live virtual audience will be able to submit questions throughout the session.
In addition, the day’s programming always includes local events around the world, and organizers and musicians from 190 countries “are curating their own digital events with music, videos and other original content showing how jazz brings us all together - unites us - even in challenging times”, said John Beasley, arranger, composer and long-time musical director of the Global Concert.
“Let's keep the intercultural conversations, cooperation, collaboration, and creation going because in the end we help raise mutual understanding, human dignity and peace,” Beasley said. - SWAN
Follow SWAN on Twitter: @mckenzie_ale