Black silhouettes of musicians playing instruments and singing.
International Jazz Day is chaired and led by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.
Photo:International Jazz Day

Tenth anniversary celebration of International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day has had extraordinary successes over the past decade, becoming the world’s largest annual celebration of jazz. It is a global movement, engaging people annually, on every continent, through education programs, performances, community outreach and media coverage.

The 30 April 2021 celebration entailed a 10-year anniversary All-Star Global Concert. Hosted by UN Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas and featuring spectacular performances by Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Andra Day, Dee Dee Bridgewater, John McLaughlin, Dianne Reeves, Joe Lovano, Angelique Kidjo, John Beasley (Musical Director) and many more artists.

As the great Nina Simone said, "Jazz is not just music, it is a way of life, it is a way of being, a way of thinking". The story of Jazz is written into the quest for human dignity, democracy and civil rights. It has given strength to the struggle against discrimination and racism.

Additionally, we'll enjoy socially distanced performances from across the globe and educational programmes and community outreach initiatives taking place in more than 190 countries. The virtual education programme will include master classes led by acclaimed artists.

The 10th edition this year will focus on peace building and will be structured around several activities: round table and concerts highlighting cultural heritage and traditions.

Music of improvisation and collective creation

International Jazz Day raises awareness in the international community of the virtues of jazz as a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people, as well as an educational tool. 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 Jazz?

  • 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.

In November 2011 the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed 30 April as “International Jazz Day”. This International Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about the art of jazz, its roots, its future and its impact. This important international art form is celebrated for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity, eradicating discrimination, promoting freedom of expression, fostering gender equality, and reinforcing the role of youth for social change.

Call for Applications

7 musicians playing instruments in the street

International Jazz Day Global Host City 2022

Each year, in addition to local celebrations and events worldwide, the Global Host City, designated by UNESCO’s Director-General following an application and selection process, organizes a star-studded televised concert and multiple educational and outreach activities. Interested applicants are encouraged to submit their applications by 1 October 2021 (midnight CET).

Listen

Grammy award winning composer Antonio Sánchez defines jazz simply as “freedom”, highlighting its inclusive power to bring “different elements together, transforming it into something greater.”

Resources

Greetings from the International Space Station #JazzDay 2014

Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospance Agency and Flight Engineer Rick Mastraccio of NASA sent a message of goodwill to all those celebrating International Jazz Day in 2014. Representing the Expedition 39 crew aboard the International Space Station, their message equated science and music. The science aboard the International Space Station, much like music, is all about trying to understand the unseen.

A crowd of women sitting and laughing

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.