By Robert Johnson
As the great Nina Simone said, “Jazz is not just music, it is a way of life, it is a way of being, a way of thinking”, says UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It adds: “The story of Jazz is written into the quest for human dignity, democracy and civil rights. It has given strength to the struggle against discrimination and racism.”
Recognizing this potential, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, positions music as one of the seven creative fields to support its member cities in their common quest to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNESCO believes in the power of Jazz as a force for peace, dialogue and mutual understanding and this is why in November 2011, the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed 30 April as “International Jazz Day”.
On the occasion of the 2021 International Jazz Day, Creative Cities of Music celebrated this Day to recognize the uniting power of jazz to promote peace, cooperation and intercultural dialogue. As in the previous years, Creative Cities organized a diverse array of activities spanning from live concert to exhibitions and film screenings.
As a part of the 25th edition of the Jazz festival “Jazz al Parque”, Bogota (Colombia) in collaboration with the District Institute of Arts launched on April 30, a transmedia project that aims to trace back the history of the Festival and its impact on the development of jazz in Bogota.
The project encapsulated an audiovisual series “Jazz Mutante”, a podcast series “Jazz al Podcast”, a digital musical compilation “Jazz al Parque, 25 years in 25 themes”, a virtual music bank with scores of the Big Band Bogota, and a book with multimedia content about the Festival from an interdisciplinary perspective. The project further aims to provide free access to the materials to encourage citizens to learn, research, and study the city’s jazz history.
With the successful organization of last year’s virtual edition of the Jazz Day celebration, Llíria (Spain) continued to mobilize its local music talents to spread the universal values of Jazz Music with its traditional street jazz festival “El DesenJazz” from April 30 April to May 2.
In cooperation with Granada (Spain), a UNESCO Creative City of Literature, the event aimed to create new synergies among musicians and cultural practitioners, while strengthening inter-city cooperation, especially during these challenging times.
As the historic epicenter of the creation of Swing, Kansas City (United States of America) seized International Jazz Day to pay tribute to the iconic women jazz artists of the city. Through the “Kansas City Women of Jazz” concert, the city also aimed to highlight the new generations of Jazz musicians that embraces the style and heritage of their predecessors. In addition, the Kansas City Museum made available a musical archive related to the city’s great contributions to jazz music, for both educational and entertainment purposes.
Katowice (Poland) launched the 10th edition of the Katowice JazzArt Festival. Starting April 30, the festival organized virtually various multidisciplinary activities including concerts, exhibitions, talks and discussions as well as film screenings, to showcase the city’s vibrant music scene. Live events featuring international artists will also held in the coming months.
To further support artists and musicians in times of the pandemic, Mannheim (Germany) together with Enjoy Jazz Festival and Alte Feuerwache Mannheim, organized a fundraising concert featuring local and national Jazz artists. This edition of the concert raised funds to support the artists in need. The concert featured Alexandra Lehmler and other German Jazz musicians..
Pesaro (Italy), in collaboration with Associazione Marchigiana Attività Teatrali (AMAT) and Pesaro Jazz Club, opened the doors of Teatro Rossini Opera theatre to its audience for the first long-awaited concert with the Pesaro Jazz Club Band. The audience was treated to an evening of classic jazz music as well as original compositions by the Band.