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TueApr 30

International Jazz Day – April 30, 2024

Join with people around the world as this day promotes jazz’s roots and intercultural influence every April 30. All. That. Jazz. Many consider it “America’s classical music.” After all, jazz began in New Orleans over 100 years ago. Legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock (along with the UN) helped create International Jazz Day in 2011. Read on for a musical look at a distinctly American art form — and don’t miss our list of four cool jazz subgenres.

International Jazz Day timeline

Jazz is Born

Jazz blossoms in African-American communities in the South — born from blues and ragtime.

Herbie Hancock & Miles Davis

Herbie Hancock joins Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet where he helps refine the role of the rhythm section.

Herbie Hancock Plays a Key Role

Designated a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, Hancock creates a celebration of the diplomatic role of jazz music.

UNESCO Designates April 30

UNESCO names April 30 International Jazz Day to culminate the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Appreciation Month in April.

The First International Jazz Day

The first International Jazz Day is held, featuring high-profile programs in Paris, New Orleans, and New York.

International Jazz Day Activities

  1. Listen to the greats

    Whether you’re new to jazz or want to honor the classics, honoring the musicians who helped define the genre is the ultimate way to celebrate International Jazz Day. Check out Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane to start.

  2. Attend a concert

    Concerts are held all over the world to celebrate International Jazz Day. If there’s not one near you, why not host your own event? You can even register the event on the International Jazz Day website.

  3. Take some lessons

    Take to Yelp or even the streets of your neighborhood – there are learning opportunities everywhere. The hard part will be deciding which instrument to play!

4 Cool Jazz Subgenres You Need To Explore

  1. Latin Jazz

    Instead of a drum kit, Latin Jazz uses congas, bongos, or timbales to drive a Latin American style rhythm.

  2. Avant-garde Jazz

    Avant-garde art musical composition combines with jazz instruments to form this sub-genre, characterized by its emphasis on improvisation and experimentation.

  3. Swing

    Beat-driven and highly danceable, swing music features a strong rhythm section. You’ll recognize Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole as famous pop vocalists of the swing movement.

  4. Soul Jazz

    Soul jazz incorporates strong influences from blues, soul, gospel, and rhythm and blues to create music with repetitive rhythms and bluesy melodies.

Why We Love International Jazz Day

  1. It unites cultures

    Herbie Hancock wanted to celebrate the diplomatic role of jazz in unifying people all around the world, and thus International Jazz Day was born. Countries from Argentina to Zambia throw jam sessions, music clinics, concerts and more, each with their own unique cultural flavor.

  2. Anyone and everyone can participate

    In 2017, more than 190 countries hosted events for enthusiasts of all skill levels and sub-genres. A major focus of International Jazz Day is community outreach and education. Thanks to UNESCO, beginners and advanced players can access lessons on writing blues music, Indian rhythms, the mathematics of music and more

  3. Top jazz musicians perform together

    Each year, one city is selected for the annual Global Host celebration. Everything culminates in one incredible performance. The All-Star Global Concert has featured some of the best jazz musicians from around the world, including Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper, and Aretha Franklin, just to name a few.

International Jazz Day dates

2024April 30Tuesday
2025April 30Wednesday
2026April 30Thursday
2027April 30Friday
2028April 30Sunday

International Jazz Day Featured Video

International Jazz Day

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