International Jazz Day celebrated on April 30 from Sicily to Australia

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MELBOURNE, APRIL 26 – Sicily is Jazz: the origins of a secular music that finds its roots in the beautiful island and in the emigration of the Sicilians to the United States of America in the early 1900s will be presented on April 30 al Palazzo Pilo in Capaci, Sicily. A lecture by journalist Gianmichele Taormina will introduce to incredible characters who gave birth to jazz, for example for the trumpet player of Sicilian origins Nick La Rocca. The screening of the film by Michele Cinque “Sicily Jass” will follow.

Born in New Orleans, the son of the son of poor Sicilian immigrants from Salaparuta and Poggioreale, La Rocca was an early jazz cornetist and trumpeter and the leader of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. The composer of one of the most recorded jazz classics of all-time, “Tiger Rag“, he was part of what is generally regarded as the first recorded jazz band, with the first jazz recording released, “Livery Stable Blues“, in 1917. The occasion is the International Jazz Day, celebrated on 29 and 30 April in Italy among other 190 countries, with a wide range of jazz performances, education programmes and community service initiatives.

The worldwide UNESCO events will culminate on April 30 in Australia with an All-Star Global Concert at the Melbourne Arts Centre’s renowned Hamer Hall.  It will be webcast via YouTube, Facebook, the United Nations and UNESCO to millions of viewers worldwide.

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 more than a dozen countries. Confirmed artists include: Cieavash Arian (Iran), William Barton (Australia), Dee Dee Bridgewater (USA), Till Brönner (Germany), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Eli Degibri (Israel), Kurt Elling (USA), Matthew Jodrell (Australia), Ledisi (USA), Eijiro Nakagawa (Japan), Mark Nightingale (United Kingdom), Chico Pinheiro (Brazil), Tineke Postma (Netherlands), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Nathan Schreiber (Australia), Somi (USA), Lizz Wright (USA), Tarek Yamani (Lebanon).  More artists are expected to be announced.

A series of jazz performances and outreach programmes will also take place in Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Sydney, Perth and other Australian cities. In the week prior to International Jazz Day, the celebration will kick off with a jazz education programme for student musicians in the indigenous community of Yarrabah in Far Northern Australia, to be followed by similar programmes in Sydney for students from New South Wales public schools.

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.

Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 at the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, and recognized 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.  The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is UNESCO’s official partner in the organization and promotion of International Jazz Day. (@OnuItalia)