International Jazz Day begins in Paris
PARIS - Agence France-PresseLegendary bandleader Herbie Hancock will get the first International Jazz Day off to a melodious start Monday with a dawn concert in the cradle of the music, New Orleans.
April 30 was designated International Jazz day by UNESCO last year, but the first celebration began on April 27, with a Paris master class at the oddly early hour for jazzmen of 10.00 am, followed by a Hancock gig in the evening.
On April 30, Hancock, Diane Reeves, Terence Blanchard, Ellis Wynton Marsalis will play as the sun comes up over Congo Square in the Big Easy, before the main event that night at UN Headquarters in New York.
There, Hancock will be joined by musicians from five continents, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Diane Reeves, Romero Lubamo, Esperanza Spalding, Angelique Kidjo and Zakir Hussain for a concert broadcast globally.
Although the United States cut off funding for UNESCO over its recognition of Palestine, the agency will celebrate this most American art form as a force for “peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.”
“I believe that it is very important for young people to learn about music in all of its rich and varied aspects,” said singer Barbara Hendricks, who took part in the Paris opening party.
“It is very clear that when you hear music from Africa, from Mali, Senegal Nigeria, or you listen to delta blues from Mississippi, they’re speaking the same language,” she said.
UNESCO’s 1,200-seat concert hall in Paris has been fully booked for weeks, with fans keen to catch Hancock with Hugh Masekela and singers Hendricks and Tania Maria.