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

With conflict and division in many parts of the world, it is my hope that, through the universal language of jazz, our celebration this year can inspire people of all nations to heal, to hope and to work together to foster peace.”

Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

A Call for Global Peace and Unity

The flagship Jazz Day event, a spectacular All-Star Global Concert, emphasizes the importance of jazz as a means of achieving unity and peace through dialogue and diplomacy. It features performances by some of the world’s most accomplished jazz artists. The 2022 Global Concert returns to the UN General Assembly Hall in New York in a nod to the inaugural International Jazz Day Sunset Concert in 2012, symbolizing jazz’s continued important role as a force for dialogue and diplomacy.

Herbie Hancock

Global Concert

30 April 2022

5 pm EDT/2 pm PDT/11 pm CET 

Scheduled for worldwide webcast on UN WebTV, the 2022 All-Star Global Concert will make a powerful statement in support of peace, healing and unity through a diverse series of performances by leading jazz artists from around the globe. With Herbie Hancock serving as Host and Artistic Director and John Beasley as Musical Director, the programme is set to showcase the extraordinary potential of jazz as a medium for peaceful collaboration and constructive dialogue.

Additionally, you can enjoy performances from across the globe and educational programmes and community outreach initiatives taking place in more than 190 countries. The virtual education programme includes master classes led by acclaimed artists.

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.

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 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.

JazzWomenAfrica

African women musicians

On 30 April (9 pm CET), UNESCO will celebrate the musical talent of women from across Africa with a second edition of its JazzWomenAfrica concert series. Organized in collaboration with the cultural agency ANYA Music (Morocco), JazzWomenAfrica helps counter the under-representation and insufficient recognition of women in the music industry. A discussion with women artists and music producers on this theme will take place on 29 April (5 pm 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

10th Anniversary Celebration

The 10th Anniversary of International Jazz Day, the world’s largest annual celebration of jazz, took place on April 30th, 2021, with thousands of worldwide programs culminating in a spectacular All-Star Global Concert from New York, Los Angeles, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Cape Town, Moscow, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities around the globe. Hosted by multi-Academy Award winner Michael Douglas from United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Global Concert featured performances from an array of jazz icons representing more than 20 countries.

illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

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.