The United States welcomes the selection of Osaka, Japan as the Global Host City for International Jazz Day 2014, which will be celebrated April 30.Osaka’s jazz scene dates back to the 1920s and remains lively today, making it an ideal focal point for the day’s events, which will include a series of educational programs and performances at the Osaka School of Music and the All-Star Global Concert in Osaka Castle Park featuring internationally-renowned jazz artists from around the world.
International Jazz Day, a U.S. initiative, was established in 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate the unifying power of jazz, its history in fostering communication across cultures, and its continuing vitality in all corners of the globe.  It is chaired by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General, and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.  The Institute is the lead nonprofit organization charged with planning, promoting, and producing this annual celebration.

In addition to the events in Osaka, parallel International Jazz Day events and activities will take place around the world with more information available in the coming weeks. 
Learn more about International Jazz Day at or by following the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #jazzday.

Message from the Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of International Jazz Day, 30 April 2014.

On 30 April, musicians and music lovers the world over are celebrating International Jazz Day for the third time. Throughout the world, for more than a century, artists have embraced jazz. They have adopted its spontaneity and its freedom of expression. They have played on its ability to decompartmentalize genres, and its links with painting, dance, cinema, literature, photography and more. They have celebrated its power as a participative, interactive music, blurring the boundaries between performers and audiences.

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. Jazz gave rhythm to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the United States, and has done so elsewhere in the world. Through jazz, millions of people have sung and still sing today their desire for freedom, tolerance and human dignity.

UNESCO established International Jazz Day to promote these values. This year, once again, hundreds of events and concerts will be organized or improvised worldwide, by authorities, music schools and concert halls. The main event will take place this year in Japan – in Osaka, a city where jazz draws strength from a tradition that dates back to the 1920s, and which has kept its energy vibrant up to the present day. With its numerous jazz clubs and its world-renowned annual competition, Osaka is at the heart of the modern jazz movement. By choosing this city to celebrate jazz, UNESCO also wishes to highlight the extent to which cultural influences and musical interactions forge links between cultures beyond borders and oceans.

On behalf of UNESCO, I would like to pay tribute to all our partners, in Japan and all other countries, who are organizing events to celebrate jazz and the values it embodies, along with our Goodwill Ambassador Mr Herbie Hancock and the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz, who have supported us from the start. I invite you to join us in spreading the message of energy, sharing and peace through culture and music. Irina Bokova

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           March 4, 2014

UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz will collaborate to
recognize jazz music as a universal language of freedom

Paris and Washington, D.C. – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock are pleased to announce the third annual International Jazz Day, which will be celebrated around the world on April 30, 2014. Osaka, Japan has been selected to serve as the 2014 Global Host City. Presented each year on April 30th in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day encourages and highlights intercultural dialogue and understanding through jazz, uniting people in all corners of the globe. The celebration is recognized on the official calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations.
“Jazz embodies the spirit of UNESCO,” said its Director-General, Irina Bokova. “It brings people together and builds peace, tolerance and understanding. It has been the soundtrack for positive social change, from the fight against racism to the struggle for democracy.”
The 2014 International Jazz Day celebration will kick off in Osaka, Japan on April 30th with a daylong series of jazz education programs, performances, and community outreach. An evening All-Star Global Concert at Japan’s treasured outdoor Osaka Castle Park will feature performances by Toshiko Akiyoshi, John Beasley (Musical Director), Kris Bowers, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Theo Croker, Sheila E., Pete Escovedo, Roberta Gambarini, Kenny Garrett, James Genus, Roy Hargrove, Lalah Hathaway, Terumasa Hino, Earl Klugh, Marcus Miller, T.S. Monk, Gregory Porter, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Lew Tabackin, Steve Turre and other internationally acclaimed artists, with further details to be announced shortly.
The concert from Osaka will be streamed live worldwide via the UNESCO, U.S. Department of State, and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz websites. Daytime events in Osaka will include master classes, roundtable discussions, improvisational workshops, and education programs led by world-renowned jazz musicians, educators, and diplomats.
Given its legendary history as Japan’s “jazz mecca” in the early to mid 1920s, Osaka is an ideal choice to serve as the International Jazz Day Global Host City. Osaka’s major early figures in jazz include composer Hattori Ryōichi and trumpeter Nanri Fumio, nicknamed the “Satchmo of Japan” by Louis Armstrong. Today, the city continues to play an important role in the ongoing development of jazz in Japan.
According to Ambassador Hancock, “Music has always served as a bridge between different cultures, and no musical art form is more effective as a diplomatic tool than jazz. On International Jazz Day, jazz is celebrated, studied, and performed around the world for 24 hours straight. Collaborations abound among jazz icons, scholars, composers, musicians, dancers, writers, and thinkers who embrace the beauty, spirit, and principles of jazz, freely sharing experiences and performances in our big cities and in our small towns, all across our seven continents.”
The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is once again working with UNESCO and its field offices, national commissions, networks, Associated Schools, universities and institutes, public radio and public television, as well as NGOs to ensure their involvement and participation in International Jazz Day 2014. Additionally, in countries throughout the world, libraries, schools and universities, performing arts venues, community centers, artists and arts organizations of all disciplines will be celebrating the day through presentations, concerts, and other jazz-focused activities. Programs already have been confirmed in more than 140 countries and on every continent.

Tom Carter, President of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, said, “Each of the past two International Jazz Day celebrations reached more than one billion people through jazz performances, education and outreach programs, and media coverage in all 195 UNESCO Member States. This is a phenomenal figure and we believe even more people will participate in 2014.”
Coinciding with this year’s International Jazz Day, the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) will issue postage stamps and a souvenir card to commemorate International Jazz Day on April 30th, 2014. Designed by UNPA Art Director Sergio Baradat, the stamps will be issued in U.S. dollars, Swiss francs and Euros. For more information, visit

The designation of International Jazz Day is intended to bring together communities, schools and other groups the world over to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots and its impact. Ultimately, it seeks to foster intercultural dialogue and raise public awareness about the role of jazz music in promoting the universal values of UNESCO’s mandate. As a language of freedom across the board, jazz promotes social inclusion, enhancing understanding, tolerance and nurturing creativity
For more information about International Jazz Day and to register events on the official website, please visit or

For additional information and media requests, please contact:
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz:
Alisse Kingsley
Lucia Iglesias
+33 145 68 17 02