Melbourne set to celebrate worldwide International Jazz Day

AAR James MorrisonUNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock have announced the programme for the 2019 edition of International Jazz Day – which will be launched in Australia and celebrated in more than 190 countries around the world.

On 29 and 30 April, a wide range of jazz performances, education programmes and community service initiatives will be presented in partnership with the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, featuring more than a dozen celebrated jazz masters.

The events on International Jazz Day itself (30 April) will culminate in an All-Star Global Concert at Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne – and broadcast live on the Federation Square screen and ABC Jazz (radio). The concert will also be webcast via YouTube, Facebook, the United Nations and UNESCO to millions of viewers worldwide. The following Sunday, ABC TV and iView will broadcast an hour-long highlights package from the concert.

Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (USA) and acclaimed trumpeter James Morrison (Australia) will serve as artistic co-directors of the All-Star Global Concert, and John Beasley (USA) will serve as the evening’s musical director. The concert will feature performances by an international roster of artists from around the world.

Confirmed artists include: Cieavash Arian (Iran), William Barton (Australia), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Theo Croker (USA), Joey DeFrancesco (USA), Eli Degibri (Israel), Kurt Elling (USA), Matthew Jodrell (Australia), Aditya Kalyanpur (India), Ledisi (USA), Jane Monheit (USA), James Muller (Australia), Eijiro Nakagawa (Japan), Mark Nightingale (United Kingdom), Chico Pinheiro (Brazil), Tineke Postma (Netherlands), Eric Reed (USA), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Somi (USA), Lizz Wright (USA) and Tarek Yamani (Lebanon).

Australia’s International Jazz Day celebrations will conclude with the Generations in Jazz youth festival in Mount Gambier, South Australia, led by James Morrison and Kurt Elling during the first weekend of May. With the participation of more than 6,000 high school student musicians, it will the largest youth jazz festival in the world.

“We are so excited that Melbourne is the home of the All-Star Global Concert for 2019,” said Artistic Co-Director, James Morrison. “Artists from all around the world will come together on April 30th to celebrate this art form that unites all people.”

“Never before has Melbourne seen these artists together in one concert – and the world will be watching as 190 countries and more than 1 billion people join in the celebration. International Jazz Day is a chance for the music to speak its message to the world – we’re all in this together.”

Thousands of other programmes all over the world will celebrate jazz as a universal language of peace, among them jazz-themed films, lectures, book readings, theatre performances and panel discussions, as well as jam sessions, master classes, and radio and television broadcasts.

As in previous years, a majority of International Jazz Day partner activities will focus on education and community impact, benefitting millions of students, academics, professional musicians and music lovers everywhere.

Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 at the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock and recognised by the United Nations General Assembly, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities worldwide every 30 April to celebrate the art of jazz, highlighting its important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination and promoting human dignity.

“Music is a global language, and jazz is no exception,” said Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley. “I couldn’t be prouder that Australia’s capital of live music Melbourne is this year’s host city for International Jazz Day’s flagship event at such an iconic venue in Hamer Hall.”

For more information about International Jazz Day, visit: for details.

Image: James Morrison (supplied)