International Jazz Day 2021


Friday, 30 Apr 2021



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What is International Jazz Day?

Jazz is a style of music that has been bringing people of all backgrounds together since the early 1900s. In those early days Jazz spread from the United States to countries around the globe. Today, International Jazz Day serves as a worldwide celebration of this beloved music genre.

International Jazz Day will take place on Friday, 30 April 2021. It is a day to honour and promote jazz music, as well as raise awareness for the benefits jazz music brings to society. Jazz music has a way of creating dialogue, encouraging unity, promoting peace, and simply making people happy.

International Jazz day is a day to heighten our appreciate for this style of music, so it can continue to have a positive impact on communities and individuals around the globe.

Who Founded International Jazz Day?

International Jazz Day was founded by the United Nations (UN) at the November 2011 UNESCO General Conference. The founders created this day to bring communities together through the celebration of jazz including its positive impact on society, its roots, and its future.

Why Jazz?

Fans of other music genres may be wondering why jazz was chosen as a genre that needs to be celebrated globally each April. Members of the UN explained that jazz has a long history of promoting diversity, peace, respect for human dignity, gender equality, and more. It constantly plays a role in eradicating discrimination and encouraging youth to fight for social change.

The following are other positive impacts of jazz as defined by the UN:

  • Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance
  • Jazz is a vector of freedom of expression
  • Jazz is a symbol of unity and peace
  • Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities
  • Jazz fosters gender equality
  • Jazz reinforces the role youth play for social change
  • Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones
  • Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from marginalized societies

How to Celebrate International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day was celebrated at home in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic put citizens around the globe into lockdown, and UNESCO and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz put on a virtual jazz festival:

The 2020 Online International Jazz Day Concert

This year’s event varies from online performances to international Jazz Day events taking place in-person around the globe. A few of the many International Jazz Day events taking place this year include:

  • Jazzologia – Virtual event from Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Kepler’s Jazz Trio – Queretaro, Mexico
  • Jam Jazz Appreciation Concert – Cas di Cultura Aruba, Oranjestad, Aruba
  • The Big Jazz Hullabaloo International Jazz Day Special – Virtual event from London, United Kingdom
  • International Jazz Day with William Michals – Charleston, South Carolina, United States
  • Illicit Grooves Radio Show International Jazz Day Special – Virtual event from London, United Kingdom

Previous year’s major events included:

  • 2019: Melbourne and Sydney, Australia hosted key celebrations for International Jazz Day 2019, with the All-Star Global Concert taking place on April 30 at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall
  • 2018: St. Petersburg, Russian Federation served as the International Jazz Day 2018 Global Host City
  • 2017: Havana, Cuba served as the 2017 Global Host City. As part of an extended International Jazz Day celebration, from April 24 through 30 acclaimed musicians and educators from Cuba and around the world participated in free jazz performances, master classes, improvisational workshops, jam sessions and community outreach initiatives
  • 2016: Washington, D.C. served as the International Jazz Day 2016 Global Host City. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert at the White House
  • 2015: Paris, France served as the 2015 Global Host City. Rich in history and culture, the City of Lights was a fitting choice for this year’s host celebration given its historically vibrant and innovative jazz scene
  • 2014: Osaka, Japan served as the 2014 Global Host City. The day’s festivities began with 6 hours of free jazz education programs at the state-of-the-art Osaka School of Music
  • 2013: Istanbul, Turkey was named the 2013 Global Host City for International Jazz Day
  • 2012: UNESCO and United Nations missions, U.S. embassies and government outposts around the world hosted special events for the first annual International Jazz Day

Other Ways to Take Part

Taking part in International Jazz Day helps spread awareness for this art form and all of the positive impacts it provides. You don’t have to live near a major International Jazz Day event to help spread this positivity and connect with other jazz enthusiasts from around the globe.

There are many other ways to participate in International Jazz Day. Here are several examples:

  • Share social media posts about what jazz means to you and its impact using the #JazzDay hashtag
  • Take a virtual jazz music lesson or history course online
  • Listen to jazz musicians on Spotify and purchase their albums online
  • View a jazz documentary or film, such as Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
  • Record yourself playing your favourite jazz music and share with friends and family online