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International Jazz Day 2023 will be another globetrotting virtual affair

Herbie Hancock, far left, with Ravi Coltrane, James Genus, Randy Brecker, Brian Blade and Zakir Hussain during the 2022 International Jazz Day concert at the United Nations.
Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz
Herbie Hancock, far left, with Ravi Coltrane, James Genus, Randy Brecker, Brian Blade and Zakir Hussain during the 2022 International Jazz Day concert at the United Nations.

Since its inaugural edition in 2012, International Jazz Day has always made a point of polyglot musical expression — bringing together a diverse array of artists from around the world, according to the stated mission of its founder, Herbie Hancock. This year's celebration, which falls as usual on April 30, will feature satellite programming in 190 countries, as well as a centerpiece All-Star Global Concert streamed from 13 cities.

"As the world's largest, most inclusive celebration of jazz music, International Jazz Day unites people across the globe," Hancock says, in his dual role as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, in a statement. "Jazz has always been about expanding boundaries — inspiring musicians toward the future and its infinite possibilities. This year, we are thrilled that the All-Star Global Concert will reflect this expansive identity in a new way, by sharing with our audience a rich palette of sounds on more than a dozen stages in every corner of the planet."

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the All-Star Global Concert took place in a different cosmopolitan host city each year: Istanbul, Melbourne, Osaka, Havana. While festivals and international touring have seen a return to some semblance of normalcy, the complex logistics of this summit will have to wait another year. The concert will be webcast at 4 p.m. EDT on April 30 on various platforms, including jazzday.com, unesco.org, hancockinstitute.org, and here at wrti.org.

With Hancock serving as master of ceremonies, the concert will feature some distinguished Jazz Day regulars, like singers Dianne Reeves and Dee Dee Bridgewater, bassists Marcus Miller and Christian McBride, and drummer Antonio Sánchez. Among the promised highlights: Zimbabwean mbira ace Musekiwa Chingodza will duet with Israeli clarinetist Oran Etkin, JazzWomenAfrica will beam in from Casablanca, and the Blue Note China Jazz Orchestra will perform from Beijing. As usual, the event's music director is pianist John Beasley, who just won his second Grammy as an arranger.

As a kickoff for International Jazz Day festivities, PBS will broadcast a special, "International Jazz Day from the United Nations," featuring highlights from last year's All-Star Global Concert. The special, featuring performances by Hancock, Gregory Porter, Lizz Wright and more, will air on Friday, April 28 at 10 p.m. EDT.

For more information about International Jazz Day, visit jazzday.org.

Nate Chinen has been writing about music for more than 25 years. He spent a dozen of them working as a critic for The New York Times, and helmed a long-running column for JazzTimes. As Editorial Director at WRTI, he oversees a range of classical and jazz coverage, and contributes regularly to NPR.