Stream the 2021 International Jazz Day Global Concert, a Genuine All-Star Affair
Not long after Herbie Hancock was appointed a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2011, he announced his intention to start an International Jazz Day, in celebration of jazz's universal truths, and its potential as a diplomatic instrument around the world.
Every year since, there have been celebrations on multiple continents on April 30, which the United Nations has designated as International Jazz Day. And up until last year, when the coronavirus pandemic forced an improvisational adjustment, each year has brought a new host city for an All-Star Global Concert.
This year, as in 2020, that event will be presented virtually in accordance with public health considerations, at 5 p.m. ET. Hosted by actor Michael Douglas from United Nations Headquarters in New York City, it will feature performances by musicians representing more than 20 countries. As usual, the artistic director is Herbie Hancock, and the musical director is his fellow pianist and composer John Beasley.
Throughout the day, a series of educational programs will be streamed at JazzDay.com. (Among them is Jazz on the Screen, a panel about film scoring featuring Hancock and Kris Bowers, and moderated by yours truly, at noon ET.)
Hancock will appear on the Global All-Star Concert alongside other artists in Los Angeles, including singers Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Andra Day. From New York, the list of performers includes pianists Cyrus Chestnut, Amina Figarova and A Bu; singers Roberta Gambarini and Veronica Swift; and saxophonists Joe Lovano, Kenny Garrett, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Melissa Aldana.
Among the other participating artists worldwide are vocalist Ivan Lins, from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; saxophonist Igor Butman, from Moscow, Russia; Mandisi Dyantyis, from Cape Town, South Africa. Singer Angélique Kidjo, originally from Benin, will contribute a performance from UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Watch the All-Star Global Concert below — or at jazzday.com, on the websites of UNESCO and the U.S. State Department, or on United Nations Web TV.
After the concert, at 9 p.m. E.D.T., PBS stations nationwide will broadcast a two-hour special for the 10th anniversary of International Jazz Day. Presented by WTTW Chicago, the program will feature a highlight reel of past Jazz Day concerts and other activity around the world.