International Jazz Day celebrates the historical, cultural, and educational contribution of this popular genre of music. The day aims to spread international awareness about this unique musical style; and to promote the cultural, and social values that Jazz stands for.
Jazz is a uniquely American musical style that emerged out of the slave experience, primarily in southern United States. It is deeply rooted in the rich musical, and cultural traditions of Africa, and is heavily influenced by European music. New Orleans is generally considered to be the birthplace of this popular musical form, which is now seen as a voice of freedom and empowerment, and a statement against injustice, and oppression all around the world.
Today, Jazz has spread all over the globe, and is constantly evolving, being influenced by, and influencing other musical forms and genres.
The initiative to create an International Day of Jazz came from American Jazz pianist, composer, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogues, Herbie Hancock. The purpose of the initiative was to focus global attention to the role that Jazz has played in breaking down race and gender barriers around the world; and in promoting cooperation; mutual understanding, and communication; peace and freedom.