It should be to no one’s great surprise that this year’s plans for the celebration of International Jazz Day on April 30—originally scheduled to be based in Cape Town, South Africa—have been scuttled. However, as jazz always finds a way, so too does International Jazz Day. The annual observance is taking place online, as a worldwide virtual event that will be crowned by the traditional gala concert.
In addition to the concert, an international assemblage of musicians will host a full day’s schedule of educational activities (including master classes, children’s activities, and a panel). The schedule will include events in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic.
The educational activities will take place online beginning at 6 a.m. U.S. Eastern Daylight Time, and ending at 2:30 p.m. EDT. At 3 p.m. the concert begins, hosted as always by pianist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue (and International Jazz Day co-chair) Herbie Hancock. Other featured artists include John McLaughlin, Jane Monheit, Alune Wade, John Beasley, Ben Williams, Lizz Wright, John Scofield, Igor Butman, Evgeny Pobozhiy, Youn Sun Nah, A Bu, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Joey DeFrancesco, and others.
The full schedule of virtual events for International Jazz Day is below. For more information, visit either www.jazzday.com or www.unesco.org/jazzday. You can also watch the live sessions on the IJD Facebook page.
6:00 AM EDT Master class with pianist A Bu (in Chinese)
11:00 AM Master class with pianist Danilo Pérez (in Spanish)
11:30 AM Master class with saxophonist Igor Butman (in Russian)
12:00 PM Children’s activity with Dee Dee Bridgewater (in French)
12:30 PM Children’s activity with Oran Etkin (in English)
1:00 PM Master class with pianist Tarek Yamani (in Arabic)
1:30 PM Panel with journalist Nate Chinen (moderator), vocalist Sibongile Khumalo, and bassist Marcus Miller on International Jazz Day as a response to social isolation (in English)
2:00 PM Master class with trumpeter Lwanda Gogwana
3:00 PM Global Concert
UPDATE 4/29/2020 6 PM EDT: Although the live broadcast is over, you can still watch the concert at https://live.jazzday.com.
Besides these official events, there’s also the #JazzDayAtHome exhibit—video submissions that have been sent to the IJD organizers from performers and jazz enthusiasts around the world to celebrate the day (while still observing self-isolation and social distancing). And many other organizations are observing International Jazz Day online as well. Here are just a few of the highlights:
· A live webinar and debate on Italy’s INDIRE platform with teachers around the Bergamo region in Italy discussing their experiences teaching music during the pandemic.
· A six-day online celebration via the US Embassy in Bolivia’s Facebook page with two videos a day including concerts, discussions, classes, and more.
· A livestream performance co-hosted by the Danish Foreign Ministry featuring a performance by pianist and bandleader Niels Lan Doky.
· A Wikimarathon in Turkey aiming to increase the number of pages dedicated to jazz musicians from Turkey.
· The New Orleans Jazz Museum Facebook page will present an online celebration of jazz, with a streaming a mix of newly released music videos, rare archival content, and live performances.
· The Jazz Association of Singapore will feature a virtual jam session, solo performances, and a panel discussion, and We Love Jazz Singapore will feature a showcase of jazz videos.
· Partners in Russia, Belarus, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Turkey, the U.S.A., and Estonia will celebrate a #withoutintermission online marathon in support of doctors from around the world.
· A new website dedicated to German-speaking jazz fans for International Jazz Day, courtesy of jazz-fun.de and other partners.
· A virtual photo exhibition dedicated to jazz, along with poetry, music, and more, curated by Mozambique’s Jazztgigs.
· A new special-edition podcast, Nepetalakton, released by Jazz Day partner MAMA JAZ in Mauritius.
Check out jazzday.com/events for a full list of the programs organized this year.