Renowned US jazz musician Herbie Hancock has announced the inception of International Jazz Day as part of his role as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. The chosen date falls on 30 April, as the date celebrates the last day in what is known as Jazz Appreciation Month in the US. Hancock stresses the importance of musical and cultural diplomacy.
Jazz has been the voice of freedom for so many countries over the past half century - Herbie Hancock.
The years event is organised by UNESCO in partnership with Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, of which Hancock is the chair. Concerts are being held worldwide in Paris, New York and the birth place of jazz: New Orleans.
The official kick-off will be on 27 April with an all-day program at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris that will include master classes, musical conferences and improvisational workshops. The evening concert will feature Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, South Africa's Hugh Masekela and Brazil's Tania Maria, among others.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has fully embraced the initiative by stating that International Jazz Day is intended to bring together people all over the world 'to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots and its impact, and to highlight its important role as a means of communication that transcends differences'.