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Herbie Hancock has announced the inception of International Jazz Day as part of his role as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.


International Jazz Day is April 30, which coincides with the last day of what has been celebrated as Jazz Appreciation Month in the USA. The 2012 celebration will include concerts in Paris, New Orleans and New York, and jazz-related events across the world.

The Grammy-award-winning musician, Herbie Hancock, was named the UNESCO ambassador for the promotion of Intercultural Dialogue last year. He says that the annual event will mark the "international diplomatic aspect of jazz" and how it brings countries and cultures together.

Hancock, who plans to kick off the musical day (April 30) with a sunrise concert at New Orleans' Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz, along with local jazz musicians, such as Terence Blanchard and Ellis Marsalis.

Following the New Orleans event, Hancock will fly to New York for a sunset concert, hosted by Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas and Quincy Jones.

"I'm really excited about International Jazz Day because so many artists from various countries and genres have a connection to jazz and will be able to honour this music that has had a profound effect on them," Hancock said. "Jazz has been the voice of freedom for so many countries over the past half century. I hope that this day spreads the joy of spontaneous creation that exists in this music."

In November 2011, during the UNESCO General Conference, the international community proclaimed 30 April as International Jazz Day. The Day is intended to raise awareness in the international community of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people. Many governments, civil society organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens currently engaged in the promotion of jazz music will embrace the opportunity to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies.

Why International Jazz Day?

  • Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance
  • Jazz is a vector of freedom of expression
  • Jazz is a symbol of unity and peace
  • Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities
  • Jazz fosters gender equality
  • Jazz reinforces the role youth play for social change
  • Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones
  • Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies


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