Since 2012 Jazz fans celebrate on the entire planet to April 30 as the initiated by the UNESCO World Day of Jazz (Engl. International Jazz Day ). Accordingly, the calendar of curious holidays from all over the world celebrates improvised music appropriately. This article tries to explain what this musical event is all about and why it deserves a permanent place in the collection of the curious World Days. So why does the last day of April celebrate jazz in all its forms?
Who started International Jazz Day?
If the UNSECO General Conference decides to honor an art form with its own World Day, it has to be something special. After all, there are a number of official UNESCO holidays, but the official status of a World Day has only been granted six times. The following terms are currently in this framework calendar:
- the International Mother Language Day on February 21,the World Poetry Day on March 21,
- the World Book and Copyright Day on April 23,
- International Jazz Day on April 30th,
- the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21 and
- Audiovisual Heritage Day on October 27th
In this respect, World Jazz Day is actually in a very exclusive circle. 😉 Even if jazz is one of the first forms of globally distributed, popular music, International Jazz Day is an extremely young holiday.
Because it was not until November 2011 that the 36th General Conference of UNESCO declared April 30 to be International Jazz Day, which was officially celebrated for the first time in 2012. The aim and reason for this day of action: to create public awareness of the artistic and now global cultural significance of jazz and its roots.
Why the International Jazz Day on April 30th?
As always with such UNESCO World Days, there is also a suitable reason for choosing the date, because April 30th is also the final highlight of the annual US American Jazz Appreciation Month.
In addition, the content of this day of action naturally fits perfectly into the list of thematically related musical events. As an example, reference is made to the following dates:
- German recorder day on January 10th,
- of The Day the Music Died Day – RIP Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper on February 3,
- the day of the opera on February 8th,
- the game-your-guitar-day or Get Out Your Guitar Day on February 11,
- the day of rock and roll on July 9th,
- the International Country Music Day (dt. International Day of country music ) on September 17,
- the day of the saxophoneor Saxophone Day on November 6, or
- the day of house music (Nov. 22) speaks for itself here.
UNESCO honors the artistic importance of jazz
On the part of UNESCO, this refers primarily to the origin of this musical style, which developed more than 100 years ago from the liberation movement of African slaves in the American southern states and was one of the driving forces in society in overcoming racial discrimination in the course of the 20th century Century.
Conversely, this improvised music should also be seen as a symbol of democracy, equality and tolerance, because it was mainly jazz musicians who in the United States had lifted the borders of racial segregation by making music together. Note on our own account: The autobiography of the jazz legend Miles Davis (Heyne Verlag 2000) gives a good impression of this period and its errors Conditions he started his career.
Apart from that, there is nothing to complain about Miles’ artistic relevance, of course. A real icon who – also by its own admission – has revolutionized jazz at least twice. 😉
“Jazz is so much more than music: it is a lifestyle and a tool for dialogue, even social change. The history of jazz tells of the power of music to bring together artists from different cultures and backgrounds, as a driver of integration and mutual respect. “
(Irina Bokova, Director-General, Message on the occasion of the International Jazz Day April 30, 2014)
International Jazz Day: Some personal thoughts on jazz
At this point I consciously refrain from attempting to sketch the history of the development of jazz here. Others have managed that much better in other places and in the end it always comes down to the fact that jazz emerged from the blues and the numerous varieties through the joint participation of musicians – and especially listeners – in some form, despite constant further development has always remained connected to these roots.
Nevertheless, jazz musicians have repeatedly managed to tear down existing boundaries or to expand the genre musically (see also the articles on International Tuba Day ) on the first Friday in May and the day of the failed musical instruments . Uncommon Musical Instrument Awereness Day) on July 31st
. It is all the more astonishing that jazz has a rather cerebral and intellectual image among many people today. Because despite all the musical and compositional excellence, in my opinion jazz is still extremely powerful dance music that can be grasped analytically, but ultimately best experienced live.
For my part, I would give a lot to see the likes of John Coltrane, etc., live. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work anymore, so I have to stick to the existing recordings and finally list my top 5 jazz albums for International Jazz Day:
- John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (1965)
- Brian Blade & Wolfgang Muthspiel: Friendly Travelers live (2008)
- Nils Petter Molvaer: Khmer (1998)
- Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
- Dave Holland Quintet: Dream of the Elders (1996)
And who is able to do with jazz of you, for the / that delivers on April 30 with the Dutch Queen’s Day or Queen’s Day and the US Raisin Day or National Raisin Day, the special day of hairdressers , the day of honesty or the day of oatmeal cookies a number calendrical alternatives.
In this sense: Play that Jazz and a great International Jazz Day to all of you.