Herbie Hancock and scores of other big names in sound, rhythm and improvisation gathered in Paris on Friday to celebrate a new annual event: International Jazz Day.
Hancock, a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, is the force behind the creation of a world day of jazz on April 30 starting Monday.
The yearly event aims to encourage people around the world to break down barriers between them using music.
“International Jazz Day is the great metaphor for international harmony,” Hancock told The Associated Press in an interview, before kicking off jazz day at UNESCO where it gets an early start.
Things were getting groovy behind the sober, concrete walls of the headquarters of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
About 400 students from Paris music conservatories and schools were taking master classes from Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater or Ibrahim Maalouf. Workshops, films, lectures and performances by musicians from around the world preceded an evening concert with an array of artists, including South Africa’s Hugh Masekela and French-born Manu Katche. And to show that jazz crosses musical borders as well as national ones, opera star Barbara Hendricks was taking part.
Hancock planned to cross the Atlantic to New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, for a sunrise concert with jazz luminaries on Monday, then head to the United Nations in New York for a sunset jazz fest for diplomats that will be streamed live. Many countries, from Azerbaijan to India, plan activities of their own to celebrate jazz on Monday.
The Unites States formerly proposed to UNESCO the creation of International Jazz Day. U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO, David Killion said, “Jazz remains a powerful diplomatic tool for anyone to communicating across cultures, anyone committed to the freedom of expression and who appreciated the art of listening.”
Jazz by its very nature is a bridge across cultures, says the 72-year-old Hancock, whose roots are in classical music. Jazz musicians feed off each other, exchanging, improvising, inspiring and creating together – and forbidding nothing.
“Jazz is very open and very willing to be inclusive instead of exclusive,” Hancock said. “We all want to live in a jazz world where we all work together, improvise together, are not afraid of taking chances and expressing ourselves.”
Jazz’s roots among African-American slaves have long spoken to others with no voice but music, Hancock said.
“When a human being is oppressed, the natural tendency is to feel anger,” he said. “Jazz is a response to oppression that is not bullets and blood. Jazz is the expression of harmony … and at the same time of hope and freedom.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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