A sunrise concert in New Orleans’ Congo Square, from which jazz arose, in celebration of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day (spearheaded by Herbie Hancock), is being streamed as I write (Dr. Michael White took the last solo, over the Dirty Dozen Brass Band) at Jazzday.com and at the Thelonious Monk Institute website. Those platforms will also feature tonight’s 7:30 pm EDT concert from UN headquarters in New York City — which I’ll attend in person, and report on in a blog posting tomorrow.
This evening’s concert features all-stars: pianist Hancock joined by Tony Bennett, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona (Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater, Candido, Robert Cray, Eli Degibri (Israel), Jack DeJohnette, Sheila E., Jimmy Heath, Zakir Hussain (India), Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Shankar Mahadevan (India), Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Christian McBride, Danilo Pérez, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Hiromi (Japan), and others. George Duke will serve as Musical Director. Confirmed Co-Hosts include Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones.
The Jazz Journlists Association, in conjunction with Jazz Day, has run an international blogathon with several dozen posts about local jazz scenes in New Zealand, Kuwait, Taiwan, Finland, Moscow, Ottawa and elsewhere including all over the U.S. Such showings as Jazz Day inspires may or may not result be great music, but UNESCO’s Jazz Day is definitely a highly visible endorsement of jazz as a unique, significant, international art form. May jazz long endure, among people who are free.