International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day Quick Facts - CA

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2024 DateApril 30, 2024
2025 DateApril 30, 2025

International Jazz Day

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International Jazz Day History

International Jazz Day honors and promotes the art form of jazz. This celebration serves to appreciate the extraordinary heritage of jazz as a cultural institution, while recognizing its power to unite disparate people across the globe. This Observance emphasizes interracial dialogue, encouraging mutual understanding and tolerance, fostering gender equality, and reinforces the role of youth in enacting social change.

This worldwide event was initiated in 2011 by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and legendary jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock. It officially came into being on November 2011, during the UNESCO General Conference. For Canadians, even though Jazz music is not native to Canada, it has become an integral part of the country's cultural fabric. Since the early 20th century, Jazz music has thrived in Canadian society, reflecting the country's diverse cultural blend and contributing to the dialogue between cultures.

In Canada, International Jazz Day is commemorated with various activities and programs that promote the essence of jazz music. It kicks off with concerts involving high-profile musicians and local jazz artists, workshops, and lectures about the history and influence of jazz. Several jazz clubs and venues across the country will partake in this Observance by hosting special jazz performances. International Jazz Day is celebrated annually on April 30.

Facts about International Jazz Day

  • Each year a host city is chosen to celebrate International Jazz Day. In 2022, Cape Town, South Africa was chosen.
  • International Jazz Day in 2021 was supposed to be hosted in Cape Town, South Africa. Instead, it was hosted virtually online due to restrictions from Covid-19.
  • Nobody knows for sure where the word jazz originated. It is widely believed to come from the slang word jasm, though this is not confirmed.
  • During the Jazz Age, between the 1920s and 30s, jazz grew in popularity across Canada, especially in urban centres like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Cities like Toronto and Montreal hosted a number of Jazz clubs and attracted a great deal of American talent.
  • Canada hosts a number of high-profile jazz festivals that attract talent from around the world. The Montreal International Jazz Festival, for example, is recognized as the world's largest jazz festival. Other major festivals include the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, and the Edmonton International Jazz Festival.

Top things to do in Canada for International Jazz Day

  • Attend the international Jazz Day Global Concert in Washington DC. The concert features internationally renowned jazz musicians. It is also broadcasted across the US on ABC and streamed around the world by the UN and UNESCO.
  • Visit the Toronto Jazz Festival. Toronto hosts one of the biggest jazz festivals in North America with several indoor and outdoor concert stages and a wide range of jazz styles from local and international musicians.
  • Visit one of the many popular Jazz Festivals in Canada. Some popular festivals in Canada include: Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Festival de Jazz de Québec, and Festi Jazz International de Rimouski (Bas-Saint-Laurent region).

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