International Jazz Day celebrated its fifth anniversary on April 30, 2016 in over 190 countries worldwide. Coordinated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (UNESCO) and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the global day celebrates the power of jazz as a vehicle for freedom and expression. Renowned musician and composer Herbie Hancock chairs the international day, serving as the UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
The day closes Jazz Appreciation Month, where communities come together to learn about the history of jazz. Each year International Jazz Day is globally celebrated by performances, initiatives and community events. A host city is chosen to act as a hub for activities, culminating with an All-Star Global Concert. The 2016 Global Host City was Washington, D.C., with a televised White House All-Star Global Concert hosted by President Obama and Michelle Obama. Dozens of world-renowned artists were featured, including this year's Toronto Jazz Festival performers child prodigy Joey Alexander and jazz innovator Robert Glasper. Previous All-Star Global Concert performers coming to the 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival include vocalist Gregory Porter, pianist Ramsey Lewis and trumpeter Avishai Cohen.
Toronto joined the festivities with several performances across the city. Church Street’s 120 Diner featured performances by three Toronto Jazz Festival artists: vocalist Whitney Barris, saxophonist Chris Gale and vocalist Ori Dagan. The Poetry Jazz Cafe also marked the global jazz day, featuring Toronto Jazz Festival performers Brownman and Cruzao Latin Jazz Trio. More individual performance information can be found on each artist’s page.
Jazz Appreciation Month and International Jazz Day may have come and gone, but there are still events happening throughout the city that are not to be missed. Continue to check back for more Festival updates. (posted by Kathryn Lawler)