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30th April is International Jazz Day
30th April is International Jazz Day: a music genre that unconsciously contributed to put an end to racial segregation.
In November 2011, 30th April was declared International Jazz Day, an event organised by UNESCO to celebrate the music genre that, more than any other genre, had a fundamental role in uniting peoples.
Born out of a mix of cultures, son of immigration, synonym of contamination par excellence and unconscious driver that contributed to put an end to racial segregation, jazz spread like wild fire from Africa to the United States, from the Caribbean to Europe in every social stratum.
Today, it is widely appreciated, played and listened to by people of different social classes and embodies those values of equality represented by all music genres.
I was playing a concert date in a Miami auditorium. I walked on stage and there I saw something I’d never seen. I saw thousands of people, colored and white, on the main floor. Not segregated in one row of whites and another row of negroes. Just all together — naturally. I thought I was in the wrong state. When you see things like that, you know you’re going forward.
Extract from a letter written by Louis Armstrong to jazz critic Leonard Feather in 1941, Wall Street Journal
The International jazz day aims to gather communities, music schools, artists, historians, scholars and lovers to celebrate and popularise jazz music and its roots but even to wander about the future of this music genre. Goodwill Ambassador of the event: Herbie Hancock, a legendary piano player and composer.
This year the global host city of the event is Paris: a city steeped in history and culture, lively and innovative for its jazz scene (France is recognised as the second birthplace of jazz after the United States and, since World War I, has been one of the centres for the creation and diffusion of jazz worldwide), that on 30th April will be home to shows, workshops, master classes and jam sessions that will enliven its twenty districts (here is the schedule), and that will reach climax with a great concert.
Every year, actually, the All-Star global concert, performed by music legends such as John Beasley, Herbie Hancock, Till Brönner, Ibrahim Maalouf, Hugh Masekela, Dianne Reeves, Ravi Coltrane and Femi Kuti, celebrates jazz music. This year it will be held at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters and streamed on the official website JazzDay.com or on the YouTube official channel at 19.00 (local time). It will be available on demand later in the evening.
But events aren’t organised only in Paris: there are some scheduled throughout all 196 U.N. member states (here is the complete list).
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