Jazz Appreciation Month and International Jazz Day

The 1st Annual International Jazz Day, formulated by the United States and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)will be held on April 30, 2012. UNESCO officially proclaimed April 30 as International Jazz Day to pay tribute to this uniquely global art form, with distinctly American roots, that is played and enjoyed across cultures, languages, and musical traditions.  Jazz is a powerful unifying force that builds bridges and brings people together. 

In celebration, the U.S. Department of State is partnering with the Smithsonian Institution to showcase jazz events and programs taking place across the country. We have several programs already in the works that you and your community can get involved in, including:

  • UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock will headline a series of concerts on April 30 that will take place at sunrise in New Orleans and at sunset that same evening from New York City. The concerts will be streamed live via the internet.  Stay tuned for the web address.
  • Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), held every April and recognized by public law, was launched by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in April 2002. JAM aims to draw greater public attention globally to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz. For more information on JAM events worldwide, as well as recordings, educational resources, oral histories, blogs, articles, and links to archived and streamed jazz concerts, workshops and discussions, please visit www.smithsonianjazz.org.

Are you interested in joining the celebration of the first-ever International Jazz Day?

Here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Host a Herbie Hancock Listening Party featuring one of the April 30th concerts streamed live on the web.
  • Arrange an International Jazz Day concert in your school or community.
  • Tweet your thoughts on the importance of Jazz: #JazzDay2012
  • Request a 2012 JAM poster featuring Frank Sinatra to alert your community to jazz events or artifacts at your organization.
  • Keep an eye on the JAM events calendar and take part in an event in your community, or add your own by emailing jazz@si.edu!
  • Visit Smithsonian Jazz and discover 112 ideas for celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month.   Many of these ideas will also work for International Jazz Day.

Have any ideas of your own? We’d love to hear about them. Please let us know at jazz@si.edu, and we’ll add them to the JAM U.S. and International event calendar to showcase jazz events around the world.

2 replies
  1. Ken Plummer
    Ken Plummer says:

    MY suggestion for JAM… Don’t forget that the state of Florida is a part of this great union! Why can’t there be an April 30th concert streamed from Jacksonville? We have a lively jazz audience in this city and, as hosts of the annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival, we would LOVE to also host a concert on April 30th or participate in other JAM activities throughout the month. Contact the Special Events Department at the City of Jacksonville and ‘hook us up’!

    Also, keep my email and send me updates regarding events and activities. I am also interested in coming to DC during the month of April, 2013 and would definitely like to know of all JAM events taking place there and in the area.

    Thank you,

    Ken Plummer

  2. Dorian L. Gilmer
    Dorian L. Gilmer says:

    Dear Friends @ The Smithsonian:
    Here is the mesage that I am posting on my numerous web pages with regards to the proclaming of IJD by the UN & UNESCO…
    LISTEN UP PEOPLE. DON’T GET ME WRONG…I LOVE THE INTENT & SPIRIT OF WHAT IS BEING DONE BY THE U.N. & UNESCO. BUT. MAKE NO MISTAKE. INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY WAS STARTED(as the last Saturday in May) IN 1991 BY LATE JAZZ MUSICIAN AND BANDLEADER D. MICHAEL DENNY, who was on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Jazz Society. This labor of love was an outgrowth of the U.S. Centennial of Jazz commemoratives in 1990, which Denny helped oversee while he was a member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Jazz Society (NJJS). It was not started by some big, powerful, influencial power broker but by a common man who shared his love for the music every day.

    Recognized by the U.S. Congressional Record and sanctioned by the American Federation of Jazz Societies (and the United Nations Jazz Society):


    “INTERNATIONAL JAZZ DAY — HON. DEAN A. GALLO (Extension of Remarks – May 09, 1991)


    in the House of Representatives

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 1991

    –Mr. GALLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call to the attention of my colleagues the planned celebration for International Jazz Day to be held on June 23, 1991.

    –In 1990, the New Jersey Jazz Society [NJJS] conceived of, promoted, and celebrated the Centennial of Jazz . Ultimately, jazz clubs in 40 U.S. States and 7 nations worldwide celebrated the centennial. Jazz festivals were held in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South America, Canada, and Europe. In New Jersey, the general assembly passed a resolution honoring the centennial and the Governor issued a proclamation.

    –This year, in a continuing effort to raise the awareness of jazz the NJJS–along with the American Federation of Jazz Societies [AFJS] and the United Nations Jazz Club–have established an annual International Jazz Day , which will be celebrated each year henceforth on the fourth Sunday in June. This year it will be celebrated on June 23. Jazz Day is designed to honor both the music, which is a vital part of our cultural history, and the musicians who created it and sustain it.

    –To date, jazz clubs throughout the United States–as well as clubs in England, Germany, Russia, Canada, Australia, and Argentina–have signed on to honor this first annual International Jazz Day with jazz festivals everywhere. There is even a Jazz Day concert scheduled to be held in the auditorium of the United Nations. In New Jersey, our own Jazz Day Festival will be held in Waterloo Village.

    –So I encourage my colleagues to promote this celebration in their districts, and I commend the New Jersey Jazz Society for their pioneering efforts in this worldwide celebration in honor of the contributions of jazz to our cultural history and to our lasting enjoyment.”

    (End of remarks)

    Mr. Denny’s aim was for a global day of appreciation for Jazz. His idea worked. It is now being usurped by UNESCO and placing some of the world’s most highly regarded musicians in a position of collaborators. This is strange because the original idea was sanctioned by the U.N. Jazz Society. International Jazz Day was designated to be celebrated each year on the Saturday of May. It is one day of the year when people around the world can celebrate this great music form. Jazz started in the USA and is America’s only indigenous art form. Music lovers and musicians around the globe go to concerts, hold celebrations, or simply get together and listen to their favorite Jazz artists.

    I AM CALLING ON ALL JAZZ MUSICIANS TO ALERT THE UNITED NATIONS & UNESCO & AMBASSADOR HERBIE HANCOCK TO PUT THIS CELEBRATION IN ITS PROPER DATE & PERSPECTIVE IN TIME FOR THE 2013 OCCASION!! If you agree, then please share this with your friends and collegues! And thank you for your attention.

    —Dorian L. Gilmer

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