Organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (better known as UNESCO) and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the second annual International Jazz Day celebration can only be described as a success. The International Jazz Day Gala Concert took place in Istanbul, Turkey on April 30; with thousands of additional events taking place in 196 countries around the world to celebrate Jazz as a musical art-form.
“Using jazz as a tool, I have faith that the music–either through playing an instrument, learning about its rich cultural history, or listening to the millions of recordings made over the past century– will demonstrate that barriers can be broken, unity can be achieved, new forms of expression can be created, and a dialogue between cultures can begin, renowned pianist, composer, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock Said. Adding, “From my decades long career as a jazz musician, I know first hand that inventive ideas can achieve the impossible, transform humanity, and make productive changes at the grass roots level.”
Performers at the Gala included George Duke, Robert Glasper, Ramsey Lewis, Keiko Matsui, Eddie Palmieri; Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, Esperanza Spalding, Joss Stone, Terence Blanchard, Hugh Masekela, Marcus Miller, Terri Lyne Carrington, John McLaughlin, Lee Ritenour, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, and many more.
Watch Robert Glasper perform “Afro Blue” with Esperanza Spalding below:
Editor’s Note: The International Jazz Day Gala video was removed.