INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY
Every year on April 30th, International Jazz Day highlights a genre that unites people all across the globe. The day also invites communities, schools, historians, and artists to learn about the roots of jazz and its impact.
According to music historians, jazz stems from a mix of music from the home countries of slaves. Around 1819, these slaves would gather in Congo Square on Sundays when they did not have to work. Congo Square was located in New Orleans, which is considered the birthplace of jazz music. The sounds consisted of Caribbean music from the West Indies, beats from Africa, and melodies from churches in the South. Upbeat tunes from the theaters and sounds from brass marching bands provided the finishing touches for ragtime music. Another type of music, called blues, came from spiritual church music played with brass instruments.
In the late 1890s, ragtime and blues music came together to create jazz. An African-American bandleader named Buddy Bolden is considered the first man of jazz. In 1918, during WWI, French and British soldiers were introduced to jazz music. Throughout the 1920s, the genre exploded in popularity. Today, despite the fact jazz music is not as widely listened to as it once was, the genre of music still has a way of uniting different cultures. Many believe jazz music symbolizes peace and unity, stimulates intercultural dialogue, and reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities.
HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalJazzDay
Each year, a different city hosts the All-Star Global Concert. Past host cities included Sydney, St. Petersburg, Habana, Washington D.C, Paris, Osaka, and Istanbul. Jazz artists, professional artists, and music educators also hold workshops, lessons, free performances, virtual concerts, jam sessions, and community outreach initiatives.
- Learn about some of the best jazz musicians of all time, such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald.
- Watch a documentary like Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns, The Girls in the Band, and Keep On Keepin’ On.
- Listen to jazz music, watch jazz music videos online, or attend a jazz concert.
Share your favorite jazz song on social media with #InternationalJazzDay.
INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY HISTORY
In 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), proclaimed April 30th as International Jazz Day. The first event was held on April 30th, 2012. The event began with a sunrise concert in Congo Square, New Orleans. It ended with a sunset concert at the UN headquarters in New York City. The day has become the world’s largest celebration of jazz.