International Jazz Day is an International Day declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2011 “to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.” It is celebrated annually on April 30. The brainchild of jazz pianist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, Jazz Day is chaired by Hancock along with the sitting UNESCO Director-General. The celebration is recognized on the calendars of both UNESCO and the United Nations.
The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, an American NGO also chaired by Hancock, is the lead organizational partner for Jazz Day. The Institute coordinates activities in the UNESCO member states as well as the Global Host Celebration. Events in the Host City culminate in an All-Star Global Concert, which typically involves over two-dozen high-profile jazz musicians from around the world performing in or around an historical landmark.
The 2017 Jazz Day was hosted by Havana, Cuba. The Host Celebration included weeklong series of education and community outreach programs featuring jazz artists Esperanza Spalding, Richard Bona, Melissa Aldana, Tarek Yamani, Antonio Hart, and Regina Carter, among others. The culminating All-Star Global Concert took place at the Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso and included fifty-five musicians from Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States.