April 30th is Jazz Day! If you’re looking to celebrate, there’s a special virtual concert. Read more about Jazz Day and a little about it’s history below!
BY TREVOR SMITH (NPR)
While the world has gone relatively quiet amid the coronavirus pandemic, International Jazz Day plans on bringing some joyful sounds from across the globe together in celebration of the music. Jazz Day, which falls on April 30 of each year, was initially established in 2011 by musician and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock to bring together communities worldwide to celebrate the humanity of the universal art form through workshops, discussions and an all-star global concert.
Cape Town, South Africa, was supposed to host this year’s celebrations, but the events were canceled in late March due to the pandemic. Instead, the day’s activities will remain truly international by taking place online and hosted by Hancock.
International Jazz Day Panel with Nate Chinen Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
International Jazz Day Global Concert Time: 3 p.m. ET
The marquee Global Concert, which begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on jazzday.com, will feature streamed performances from bassist Marcus Miller (U.S.), pianist Lang Lang (China), saxophonist Igor Butman (Russia), vocalist Youn Sun Nah (South Korea), and bassist Alune Wade (Senegal), among other worldwide leaders in the genre.
In the spirit of Jazz Day’s mission of inclusion, a free series of educational master classes and children’s activities in six languages conducted by renowned musicians will be streamed in the hours leading up to the concert. The pre-concert program will also include a panel discussion on the importance of art and the international community during the public health crisis, hosted by NPR Music and WBGO’s Nate Chinen and featuring performer Marcus Miller and South African vocalist Sibongile Khumalo.
Despite the need to celebrate Jazz Day in isolation this year, Herbie Hancock remains optimistic in the message and impact of the festivities.
“Now more than ever before,” he says, “let’s band together and spread the ethics of Jazz Day’s global movement around the planet and use this as a golden opportunity for humankind to reconnect.”
More information can be found on jazzday.com.Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit npr.org.
It’s undeniable that there is great Jazz in the Pacific Northwest. Concert tickets are a thoughtful gift and help reduce the clutter one may accumulate during the holiday season. Although they are not immediately deliverable, that’s okay! Sometimes a little delayed gratification can have just as big a pay-off.
Here are some upcoming concerts in the region with tickets
available that you can shower on your loved ones (in chronological order):
American in Paris, Olympia, Washington. Thursday, January 16th at
the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho. Festival dates are February 28th and 29th, 2020. The leap year lineup includes the Lionel Hampton Big Band whose members all personally played with Lionel Hampton at one point in their careers. Jason Marsalis is the featured vibes player. It’s definitely worth the trek if you live out of town!
Besides giving the gift of a fun night out, concert tickets are small, so you can sneak them in as an unassuming stocking-stuffer. Then when they open it, it’s a nice surprise for them to find it’s not just $1.00 folded into an origami shirt.
After that first surprise, when you attend the concert, you get another pay-off. Seeing them enjoy the music while you enjoy it with them.
Just Listen! Gift Picks:
Harry Connick Jr.’s New Album True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter
Going into the 2020s, 100 years later it might be fun to get the jazz-lover in your life a taste of the roaring 1920s in a modern take. Singing in a classic crooner style, Harry Connick Jr.’s new album focuses on the renowned composer and lyricist. Cole Porter began to gain fame during the 1920s and continues to be a strong influence on jazz musicians today. Take a listen to the NPR story about the album and the interview with Harry Connick Jr. as he describes why he loves to play with Cole Porter like a “set of musical Legos”.
The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra’s New Holiday Album, Underneath
If you want to give a gift of fun Holiday Jazz music, The Glenn Crytzer Orchestra specializes in the “Vintage Jazz” sound that will be treasured in any music collection. Along with the imaginative cover songs, there are several originals on the album which breath new life into Holiday Jazz music. The album veers away from the somber and sultry arrangements that are often on Jazz Holiday albums. Neither does it foray into the frenetic over-the-top music that is blasted at shopping malls. Underneath The Mistletoe lands squarely in the realm of classic swing music, upbeat, fun, a little silly, but still classy. The song titled “The Krampus” will delight those who enjoy the “darker side” of the Holidays. Definitely a good music gift pick for those with a sense of humor and a love of swing!
Read It And… Don’t Weep:
Lady Sings the Blues: the 50th Anniversary
Edition with a Revised Discography
Billie Holiday’s memoir in an updated treatment with revised discography is a great gift for fans of Jazz classics. Who doesn’t want a little bit of Holiday’s voice, either in a song or in a book? It’s available here.
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
Exploring the many pathways music takes in our brains and our lives, Oliver Sacks’ book will sure to delight any brainy music-lover on your list. Sacks’ is a physician, an author and a professor of neurology and his unique perspective will make for a special and memorable gift. It is available here.
Watch It! Gift Pick:
Ken Burns’ 10-Part Documentary on Jazz
Though made in 2001 (there’s been some Jazz history happening in the past 18 years!), it is still a good educational documentary for people who love the Jazz classics. Filled with fascinating interviews, clips, history, and music, the Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary is a gift that will take a long time (in a good way) to get through.
Practically Perfect Paraphernalia:
There May Be Treble Ahead…
You could adorn your friend or loved-one with a treble-clef necklace while punning with the lyrics of Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”.
Jazz Classics Christmas Socks
Get something to put inside those dancing shoes! For some people, receiving socks or underwear for Christmas is like the modern-day equivalent of coal. For others, though, it’s a godsend at the end of the year, replacing the worn toes of socks from Christmas yesteryear.
If you know someone who could use a little sock drawer sprucing-up, you could give them the gift of happy feet in the form of socks à la Jazz. There’s a variety of jazz themed socks on Etsy.
Whichever gift you choose, be sure to share the joy of
music and jazz with everyone you know!
Disclaimer: This gift guide does not contain affiliate links. We choose
our gift ideas completely blind and selected gifts due to gifting fit (with an
emphasis on the Northwest, and, of course, jazz).
Diana Krall was born November 16th, 1964 in Nanaimo, British Columbia. She is a jazz pianist and vocalist. Some of her better known albums include All For You: A Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio (1996) and Live in Paris (2002). Her most recent album is Love is Here to Stay (2018), with Tony Bennett. Krall has won three Grammy awards. She is married to British musician Elvis Costello and has two children.
Esperanza Spaulding is a jazz vocalist, bassist, and composer from Portland, Oregon. She is currently a professor of music at Harvard University. Spaulding has one four Grammys. She is the first jazz artist to win in the best new artist category.
White House Performance
Wynton Marsalis is jazz and classical trumpeter and composer from New Orleans, Louisiana. He has recorded over eighty albums and has nine Grammys. He is the only musician to receive a Grammy for both his jazz and classical work. Marsalis was the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music and he received the National Humanities Medal from President Barak Obama in 2015. He co-founded the Jazz program at Lincoln Center in 1987. Marsalis is active in jazz education worldwide and was named an international ambassador of goodwill for the United States by the U.N. in 2001. His youngest brother, Jason Marsalis will be playing in the Lionel Hampton Big Band during the 2020 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho.
The Jazz Singer premiered on October 6th, 1927. The film, starring Al Jolson, tells the story of a second generation Russian American who wants to become a popular jazz singer. His father wants him to become a cantor in the local synagogue and believes being in show business is sinful. Jolson’s character must choose between his parents’ Russian-Jewish culture and pursuing his dream. The film is controversial today because of Jolson’s use of blackface throughout the film. However, the film is undeniably an important part of American culture because it was the first successful “talking” picture with synchronized dialogue and sound effects. The success of The Jazz Singer pushed all of the American motion picture studios into “the talkies” and effectively ended the age of silent pictures.
The October Revolution In Jazz
The first Free Jazz music festival took place from October 1st to October 4th in 1964. Organized by musician Bill Dixon, the four day festival had over twenty artists and ensembles performing and discussing their work. Headliners included Sun Ra, Paul Bley, and Cecil Taylor. The festival helped introduce the general public to the free jazz style.
Source: Anderson, Iain. This Is Our Music : Free Jazz, the Sixties, and American
Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007. Accessed October
8, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central, p. 122
45th Street Brass perform their song PBMJ at John’s Alley in Moscow. KJEM also had the opportunity to interview band leader Peter Daniel before the performance. You can find that interview by clicking on the JEM set tab or scrolling down the news feed on the main page.