Today, April 30 marks International Jazz Day, established in 2012 by UNESCO to promote peace, encourage free speech and support human rights, all through the power of music.
The legendary pianist-composer Herbie Hancock, a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, leads the annual celebration, along with UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.
Hancock, a Chicago native who made his debut as a teenage soloist at Orchestra Hall, has gone on to perform many times on that stage, most recently through the Symphony Center Presents Jazz series. He will appear in several International Jazz Day events, including a PBS special airing tonight at 8 p.m. (Central) on WTTW-Channel 11. The broadcast, which also will be streamed, salutes the 10th anniversary of International Jazz Day, with past performances from previous PBS specials by jazz greats Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Lee Ritenour and Esperanza Spalding, joined by pop-soul-world music stars Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox and Hugh Masekela.
In addition, arts groups worldwide have planned dozens of International Jazz Day events. Locally, the Jazz Institute of Chicago and the Fulton Street Collective will present "Chicago's Wide World of Jazz," a virtual concert billed as "a guided tour of Chile, Japan, Italy, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, whose influences are stirred into the sounds of our city — all without leaving the comforts of home." Featured artists include bassist Tatsu Aoki, vocalist Grazyna Auguscik, guitarist Fareed Haque, pianist Liza Micelli and percussionist Juan Pastor.
For more about International Jazz Day and the many events planned in celebration, please visit the IJD site.