International Jazz Day 2018 came to a phenomenal close this evening in St. Petersburg, following an extraordinary All-Star Global Concert at the historic Mariinsky Theatre that capped off several days of educational outreach programs across the city. The concert, led by artistic co-directors Herbie Hancock (USA) and Igor Butman (Russia), was streamed live by the United Nations and UNESCO and on www.jazzday.com. It featured performances by an international roster of artists including Oleg Akkuratov (Russia), Till Brönner (Germany), Oleg Butman (Russia), Terri Lyne Carrington (USA), Joey DeFrancesco (USA), Fatoumata Diawara (Mali), Vadim Eilenkrig (Russia), Kurt Elling (USA), Antonio Faraò (Italy), James Genus (USA), Robert Glasper (USA), David Goloschekin (Russia), Hassan Hakmoun (Morocco), Gilad Hekselman (Israel), Horacio Hernandez (Cuba), Taku Hirano (Japan), Anatoly Kroll (Russia), Gaoyang Li (China), Rudresh Mahanthappa (USA), The Manhattan Transfer (USA), Branford Marsalis (USA), James Morrison (Australia), Moscow Jazz Orchestra (Russia), Makoto Ozone (Japan), Danilo Pérez (Panama), Dianne Reeves (USA), Lee Ritenour (USA), Luciana Souza (Brazil) and Ben Williams (USA). John Beasley (USA) served as musical director.
The All-Star Global Concert included special remarks from the International Jazz Day Co-Chairs: UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. The evening showcased incomparable musicians from around the world and their unique interpretations of jazz. Inventive pairings included The Manhattan Transfer delivering an exhilarating version of "Birdland" with the Moscow Jazz Orchestra, and renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis performing "As Long As You're Living" alongside acclaimed vocalist Kurt Elling, German trumpet sensation Till Brönner and Italian pianist Antonio Faraò. The stunning vocalist Dianne Reeves joined forces with Russian saxophonist Igor Butman, Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone, and American rising star bassist Ben Williams for a breathtaking performance of "In A Sentimental Mood." The concert concluded with the entire cast performing a heartfelt rendition of John Lennon's beloved peace anthem, "Imagine."
Leading up to the All-Start Global Concert, St. Petersburg hosted a wide array of programming including master classes and workshops with Oleg Butman and Lee Ritenour; panel discussions exploring Jazz and Peace, Women in Jazz and Jazz and Roots Music; and jam sessions with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Fellows.
Earlier in the week, the International Jazz Day festivities kicked off in New Orleans with an International Jazz Day Salute to New Orleans concert at the historic Orpheum Theater. Thousands attended this free concert commemorating the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. The show opened with an only-in-New Orleans second line fronted by the Preservation Hall All-Stars and featured performances by Herbie Hancock along with Patti Austin, Philip Bailey, Bilal, Terence Blanchard, Jon Cleary, Ledisi, Quiana Lynell, Herlin Riley and many others. The concert will stream on www.jazzday.com at 7pm et, following the broadcast of the All-Star Global Concert from St. Petersburg at 4pm et. In addition to the live concert, a series of engaging, in-school jazz education presentations were led by the Institute's teaching artists and educators at schools across New Orleans.
Celebrated around the globe each year on April 30, 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.
International Jazz Day was adopted by the UNESCO Member Nations on the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. Established in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the day is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations, and it is celebrated in more than 190 countries on all seven continents. Each year, schools, universities, libraries, jazz clubs, performing arts centers, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines around the world pay tribute to jazz through thousands of performances, education programs and community service initiatives.