April 30 is International Jazz Day. Proclaimed by UNESCO in 2011, jazz is recognized across the globe as an art form celebrated for its work in promoting peace, diversity and freedom of expression among many other aspects of our cultural fabric.
Did you know…
Jazz has been around for more than 100 years and has drawn upon various styles and cultural regions to form a wide variety of music. As it spread around the world, it developed different sound, styles and structure. As famous jazz musician Herbie Hancock puts it, “Jazz has borrowed from other genres of music and also has lent itself to other genres of music.”
It’s in the movies, on TV, on your radio and your music streaming service. Jazz is an art form that has eclipsed its American origins to become an internationally embraced expression of culture and creativity. Each nation and each culture it touches contributes a piece of itself and helps jazz culture to grow and evolve.
While the globe comes together today to celebrate jazz and its talented musicians, all we have to do is look at our roots here in Alberta to see some significant contributions to the art form. We’re home to some Jazz greats, like Canadian Juno winners Tommy Banks and PJ Perry. Their careers link us to legendary jazz musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, and Big Miller. Our major urban centres Calgary and Edmonton have long established organizations and festivals dedicated to jazz and Lethbridge and Medicine Hat are also known to host dedicated Jazz Festivals.
In fact, Alberta’s music scene…
Each year a different city is chosen to host the official International Jazz Day celebrations. In 2016 that city will be Washington DC and the hosts will be President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Artists like Canadian Diana Krall, will be performing in concert, and as part of the celebration the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will launch programs that use music as a teaching tool. Countries and arts organizations around the world have signed up and will be holding their own jazz-focused presentations and concerts to demonstrate their connection to the music.
More information on how you can celebrate International Jazz Day
Need help making your International Jazz Day playlist? Check out the CBC’s Top 5 Canadian Jazzers of all time!