Monday, April 30 was International Jazz Day, with events in nearly 200 countries worldwide.
The 2018 global host city is St. Petersburg, Russia, where a flagship concert was broadcast at 4 p.m. EST. Pianist Herbie Hancock, a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and the chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, is co-artistic director of the concert along with saxophonist Igor Butman, one of Russia’s most prominent jazz artists.
The concert united a broad coalition of musicians, including pianists Danilo Pérez (Panama), Makoto Ozone (Japan) and Robert Glasper (USA); vocalists Dianne Reeves (USA), Luciana Souza (Brazil) and Cyrille Aimée (France); and saxophonists Branford Marsalis (USA), Rudresh Mahanthappa (USA) and Gaoyang Li (China). The Moscow Jazz Orchestra, founded and led by Butman, were among multiple entities representing the Russian jazz landscape. As in past editions, the musical director for the concert was pianist John Beasley.
This year there was also an International Jazz Day Salute to New Orleans, recognizing the 300th anniversary of the City of New Orleans. That event, which took place on April 22 in Congo Square, featured Hancock, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, singers Patti Austin and Ledisi, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, among others. You can watch it in full below.