International Jazz Day announces schedule for 2020 online celebration

Herbie Hancock will host this year’s “virtual” celebration of International Jazz Day, with many of the biggest names in jazz coming together despite circumstances keeping them apart.

The organization that runs International Jazz Day each year has announced the schedule for the 2020 celebration, which was initially set to take place in Cape Town, South Africa, before the COVID-19 pandemic broke off those plans.

The centrepiece of the virtual musical festival is the headline concert taking place at 3 p.m. EST, live-streamed on jazzday.com.

That concert will feature performances by Dianna Reeves, Marcus Miller, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Joey DeFrancesco, John Scofield, Charlie Puth, Jane Monheit, John Beasley, Youn Sun Nah, John McLaughlin and more.

Leading up to the main event, there will be free series of master classes and children’s activities taking place in several different languages via web conference, led by renowned jazz artists and educators.

Jazz journalist Nate Chinen will host a panel discussion about how jazz — and music and art in general — can be a “relevant response” to social isolation. Marcus Miller and Sibongile Khumalo will join the panel, and audience members live-streaming the discussion from home will even be able to submit their own questions.

See the full schedule for International Jazz Day below.

In earlier news, UNESCO and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz had issued a call for artists, fans and event organizers around the world to submit video messages and audio recordings to show their support and participation. Those submissions will featured throughout the International Jazz Day celebrations.

“Armed with optimism, patience and grace, we’ll work through these challenges as families, communities, countries and as a stronger united world,” Herbie Hancock said. “Now more than ever before, let’s band together … and use this as a golden opportunity for humankind to reconnect, especially in the midst of all this isolation and uncertainty.”

International Jazz Day marks the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage. The United Nations and UNESCO now both recognize International Jazz Day on their official calendars.

This Thursday, April 30, join the celebration at jazzday.com.


Schedule of International Jazz Day virtual events:

6:00 a.m. EST: Master class with pianist A Bu (Chinese)

11:00 a.m. EST: Master class with pianist Danilo Pérez (Spanish)

11:30 a.m. EST: Master class with saxophonist Igor Butman (Russian)

12:00 p.m. EST: Children’s activity with Dee Dee Bridgewater (French)

12:30 p.m. EST: Children’s activity with Oran Etkin (English)

1:00 p.m. EST: Master class with pianist Tarek Yamani (Arabic)

1:30 p.m. EST: Panel with journalist Nate Chinen, vocalist Sibongile Khumalo and bassist Marcus Miller (English)

2:00 p.m. EST: Master class with trumpeter Lwanda Gogwana (English)

3:00 p.m. EST: Global Concert