April finale showers unity today for International Jazz Day. A fitting ending to the month of Jazz Appreciation.
April 30th marks the sixth annual International Jazz Day highlighting the virtues of jazz as an educational tool and a force for peace, unity, dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people. The intent of jazz day is to foster greater appreciation not only for the music but also for the contribution it can make to building more inclusive societies.
International Jazz Day is celebrated in a different global host city each year. In partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day
highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promotes intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, and unites people from all corners of the globe.
Whether you are a jazz promoter, jazz lover or newbie to the world of jazz, there are many ways to celebrate the day. For a complete list of events around the world visit: jazzday.com/events. Here are a few suggestions:
Havana, Cuba: The All-Star Global Concert at the historic Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of Cuba, the Cuban Institute of Music, and the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO will be live streamed on JazzDay.com (April 30, 9 pm EDT), and will feature an extraordinary array of artists from around the world paying tribute to the international art form of jazz.
New York City: All Sides of Ella with Ulysses Owens, Jr. & Friends with drummer/music director Ulysses Owens, Jr.; pianist Allyn Johnson; trumpeter Alphonso Horne; bassist Alex Claffy; and vocalists Brianna Thomas and Alyson Williams.
In just the past few years, Ulysses Owens, Jr. has performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola with artists including Christian McBride, child prodigy Joey Alexander, Steve Wilson, Mulgrew Miller, Steve Nelson, the Swing Collective, and the New Century Jazz Quartet. Already one of today’s most high-profile sidemen, this GRAMMY® Award winner and DownBeat Rising Star has recently stepped into a leadership role and assembled some top-shelf groups. Tonight’s band features a monster lineup similar to the one Owens led in 2016’s Celebrating Ellington and Beyond program. This year, they’ll be honoring the many sides of the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald as part of their Ella Fitzgerald Festival. This show is highly recommended for any kind of jazz fan.
Chicago: The Jazz Institute of Chicago’s International Jazz Day Celebration event at The Chicago Cultural Center.
In celebration of International Jazz Day, the Jazz Institute of Chicago honors the diversity of jazz and its ability to forge new connections by featuring two ensembles that represent the global influences of the music. Mexican drummer Gustavo Cortiñas presents music from his new album “Esse,“ which “gathers fellow musicians from Chicago to contemplate, through composition and improvisation.” Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan performs a blend of American jazz, Gypsy jazz, Flamenco, and folk music
So, however you choose to honor the day — Enjoy!