The world will mark the International Jazz Day on April 30. This day is intended to raise awareness of the virtues of jazz as an educational tool, and a force for empathy, 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.
The day will include major events in Saint Petersburg (Russian Federation), this year’s Global Host City, and over 190 countries around the world. Jazz has been played in Saint Petersburg since 1927, when Russia’s First Concert Jazz Band was founded, at the Saint Petersburg State Capella, followed by the creation of the first jazz collective in 1929. It is also the only city in Russia to have a Jazz Philharmonic Hall, founded in 1989.
A series of educational and outreach programs will take place in the Global Host City, where the day will culminate in an extraordinary all-star concert at the historic Mariinsky Theatre, an event which will be streamed live worldwide. Partners on all continents will celebrate jazz as a universal language of peace.
The International Jazz Day was established by UNESCO in coordination with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in 2011, recognizing the role of jazz in promoting freedom, creativity and intercultural dialogue, uniting people from all corners of the globe.
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. UNESCO believes in the power of Jazz as a force for peace, dialogue and mutual understanding and this is why in November 2011, the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed April 30 as "International Jazz Day".
Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance. It is a vector of freedom of expression. Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities. 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.