Tuesday, April 07, 2015

International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert From The United Nations To Air As PBS Television Special

Historic concert features extraordinary performances by dozens of celebrated artists including Tony Bennett, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masekela, Lang Lang, Wayne Shorter, Angelique Kidjo, Chaka Khan, Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding and many others...

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) will broadcast a one-hour television special of the first annual International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert on Friday, April 10 at 10:00 p.m. EST. The concert features extraordinary performances by more than 40 world- renowned artists who gathered at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City.

The concert’s many historic moments include a first-time collaboration with Stevie Wonder and Esperanza Spalding, plus Michael Douglas introducing legendary South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. Douglas’ father, Kirk Douglas, had starred in the film “Young Man with a Horn,” which inspired a young Masekela to begin playing the trumpet.

Other highlights include a stellar performance by Tony Bennett, a magical duet with Herbie Hancock and China’s piano virtuoso Lang Lang, and a captivating performance featuring Wynton Marsalis with Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez. Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette perform Miles Davis’ classic “Milestones” and Dee Dee Bridgewater joins Shankar Mahadevan, Jimmy Heath, George Duke, Christian McBride and Zakir Hussain in a unique rendition of Duke Ellington’s “Cottontail.”

The incomparable Chaka Khan joins Blue Note saxophone great Joe Lovano onstage for a special rendition of “Them There Eyes” and Angelique Kidjo brings the crowd to its feet with “Afrika.” Longtime blues aficionado Morgan Freeman introduces a dynamic blues & jazz segment featuring Robert Cray, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. The evening culminates with the entire all-star cast performing Stevie Wonder’s quintessential tune “As.”

In its review of the concert, JazzTimes said, “New York City has always been home to the world’s most storied jazz venues, from Minton’s Playhouse and the Cotton Club of decades past to the Blue Note and Village Vanguard of today. Until now, no one would ever have thought to place the General Assembly of the United Nations—that august room where policies affecting the world are made—on that list. But on the night of April 30, there was no better place in New York—or the rest of the planet—to hear jazz. The ‘Sunset Concert’ closing out the first annual International Jazz Day…was a star-studded affair—the hosts were Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Quincy Jones—but it was also a phenomenal jazz concert.”

The concert concluded the first annual International Jazz Day celebration that brought together people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities around the world. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. Through this united effort, International Jazz Day is the one day each year that jazz is celebrated worldwide. It is recognized on the official calendars of both the United Nations and UNESCO.

International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing this annual worldwide celebration.

According to Herbie Hancock, “On International Jazz Day, jazz is celebrated, studied, and performed around the world for 24 hours straight. Collaborations abound among jazz icons, scholars, composers, musicians, dancers, writers, and thinkers who embrace the beauty, spirit, and principles of jazz, freely sharing experiences and performances in our big cities and in our small towns, all across our seven continents. I can’t think of a better way to build peace and cultural understanding.”

The PBS special will air in April as part of Jazz Appreciation Month and will raise awareness of the fourth annual International Jazz Day celebration, taking place on all continents on April 30, 2015. This year, Paris, France will serve as International Jazz Day Global Host City, presenting dozens of education programs and performances, along with an All-Star Global Concert featuring a wide range of internationally acclaimed artists. The concert will be streamed to audiences around the world.

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