The Power of Jazz

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"Jazz has the power to make men forget their differences and come together...Jazz is the personification of transforming overwhelmingly negative circumstances into freedom, friendship, hope, and dignity." Spoken by Quincy Jones at the First International Jazz Day in 2012 at the United Nations.

The soul of Jazz is expressed in the life of its humblest most gifted people. Musicians find expressions humility, courage, and deep heritage, from the past to its vast promise for the future.

Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance. It is a path of freedom of expression; a symbol of unity and peace.

Jazz reduces tensions between individuals, groups, and communities while nurturing gender equality. This music strengthens the role youth play for social change.

Jazz encourages artistic innovation, improvisation, new forms of expression, and inclusion of traditional music forms into new ones.

Jazz stimulates intercultural dialogue and empowers young people from disregarded societies.

In April 2012, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz (TMIJ) spearheaded and organized the historical events which took place around the world where Jazz legends gathered together for key events at UNESCO's Headquarters in Paris, at the United Nations' Headquarters in New York, as well as at the emblematic Congo Square in New Orleans. From Algiers to Buenos Aires, from Kuala Lumpur to Warsaw, from Lomé to Santo Domingo, more than a hundred countries celebrated this day.

After the UNESCO General Conference in November 2011, April 30th was declared International Jazz Day.

On April 30, 2012, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations missions, U.S. embassies and government outposts around the world hosted special events for the First Annual International Jazz Day on April 30, 2012 to honor this respected musical art form called Jazz. Universities, libraries, schools, community centers, performing arts venues and arts organizations of all disciplines around the world marked the day through concerts, education programs, seminars, lectures, book readings, public jam sessions, master classes, photo exhibitions, dance recitals, film and documentary screenings, theater presentations and spoken word performances. More than one billion people around the world were reached through 2012 International Jazz Day programs and media coverage.

In 2012, UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz presented three high-profile programs: A daylong celebration in Paris at UNESCO World Headquarters; a sunrise concert in New Orleans' Congo Square, the birthplace of Jazz; and a sunset concert at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City. Among the world-renowned artists that participated were John Beasley
John Beasley
John Beasley

piano
, Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
b.1926
vocalist
, George Benson
George Benson
George Benson
b.1943
guitar
, Terence Blanchard
Terence Blanchard
Terence Blanchard
b.1962
trumpet
, Richard Bona
Richard Bona
Richard Bona
b.1967
bass, electric
(Cameroon), Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater
b.1950
vocalist
, Candido
Candido
Candido
b.1921
congas
, Terri Lyne Carrington
Terri Lyne Carrington
Terri Lyne Carrington
b.1965
drums
, Ron Carter
Ron Carter
Ron Carter
b.1937
bass
, Robert Cray
Robert Cray
Robert Cray
b.1953
guitar, electric
, Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
b.1942
drums
, George Duke
George Duke
George Duke
1946 - 2013
piano
, Sheila E., Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
b.1940
piano
, Antonio Hart
Antonio Hart
Antonio Hart
b.1968
saxophone
, Jimmy Heath
Jimmy Heath
Jimmy Heath
b.1926
sax, tenor
, Hiromi
Hiromi
Hiromi
b.1979
piano
(Japan), Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
b.1951
percussion
(India), Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo
Angelique Kidjo
Angelique Kidjo
b.1960
vocalist
(Benin), Lang Lang (China), Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
Joe Lovano
b.1952
saxophone
, Romero Lubambo (Brazil), Shankar Mahadevan (India), Ellis Marsalis
Ellis Marsalis
Ellis Marsalis
b.1934
piano
, Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
b.1961
trumpet
, Hugh Masekela
Hugh Masekela
Hugh Masekela
b.1939
flugelhorn
(South Africa), Christian McBride
Christian McBride
Christian McBride
b.1972
bass
, Marcus Miller
Marcus Miller
Marcus Miller
b.1959
bass, electric
, Danilo Pérez (Panama), Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
, Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding
b.1984
bass, acoustic
, Treme Brass Band and Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
b.1950
keyboard
. Hosts included Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
b.1933
producer
.

"Observe it. Figure it out. Put it to the soul and science test. Then, say to yourselves, I can do that." —Quincy Jones.

An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Quincy Jones has succeeded in almost every segment of the media and entertainment industry. He has been nominated for a record 79 Grammys and won 27 Grammys, more than any living musician; including having produced Michael Jackson's Thriller, the best-selling album of all- time, and "We Are the World," the best-selling single of all-time.

Quincy says, "We should take a moment to let the soul catch up with the body. Go out and find a song you love with someone you love, a poem that touches your heart, and take the time to let the whisper of God's voice come into your mind."

Exemplary of the mission, goals and objectives of International Jazz Day, Quincy will be 81 years young on March 14, 2014.

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