International Jazz Day to be Celebrated in 190 Countries


Pianist Herbie Hancock is International Jazz Day’s ambassador and artistic co-director.

(Photo: Courtesy International Jazz Day)

St. Petersburg, Russia, will serve as the global host city for the annual International Jazz Day, with events being held on April 29 and 30.

Herbie Hancock, the event’s ambassador this year, and Audrey Azoulay, director general of UNESCO, recently announced the program, which in addition to performances in St. Petersburg will encompass events in 190 countries. The yearly event was founded in 2011 by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to laud the genre’s part in promoting freedom and creativity. This year in the host city, a variety of discussions, workshops and outreach programs also will be held. The free celebration culminates in performances at the Mariinsky Theatre and will be streamed online.

Hancock and Russian saxophonist Igor Butman serve as artistic co-directors of the St. Petersburg concert, and American pianist and arranger John Beasley is the musical director.

Performers in St. Petersburg are set to include:

  • Cyrille Aimée (France)
  • Oleg Akkuratov (Russia)
  • Till Brönner (Germany)
  • Oleg Butman (Russia)
  • Fatoumata Diawara (Mali)
  • Joey DeFrancesco (U.S.)
  • Vadim Eilenkrig (Russia)
  • Kurt Elling (U.S.)
  • Antonio Faraò (Italy)
  • James Genus (U.S.)
  • Robert Glasper (U.S.)
  • David Goloschyokin (Russia)
  • Hassan Hakmoun (Morocco)
  • Gilad Hekselman (Israel)
  • Horacio Hernandez (Cuba)
  • Taku Hirano (Japan)
  • Anatoly Kroll (Russia)
  • Gaoyang Li (China)
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa (U.S.)
  • The Manhattan Transfer (U.S.)
  • Branford Marsalis (U.S.)
  • James Morrison (Australia)
  • Moscow Jazz Orchestra (Russia)
  • Makoto Ozone (Japan)
  • Danilo Pérez (Panama)
  • Dianne Reeves (U.S.)
  • Lee Ritenour (U.S.)
  • Luciana Souza (Brazil)
  • Ben Williams (U.S.)

The host for International Jazz Day in 2019 will be Sydney, Australia, with the Sydney Opera House—a UNESCO World Heritage site—serving as the performance venue for next year’s all-star concert.

For more information about the celebration, visit the International Jazz Day homepage. DB

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