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JT Notes June 2014–International Jazz Day: Now What?

Making the lessons count all year long

On April 30, for the past three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the host-city concert of International Jazz Day (see p. 17), first in New York, then Istanbul and now Osaka, Japan. That what began as a hopeful idea from Herbie Hancock, UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute has evolved into a massive success-with events taking place in all of the world’s 196 countries-is undeniable. Astounding, really, considering that jazz today is commercially marginal even in its birthplace, let alone Tonga and Somalia.

As a participant, it’s nearly impossible, if only for that single day, not to get caught up in the pan-cultural spirit. When I spoke with Monk Institute President Tom Carter at this year’s flagship event, he told me, “[IJD is] a global movement. It represents freedom and opportunity for people around the world. It’s gone so far beyond our expectations.”

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