More than two dozen world-renowned artists have come together for an extraordinary International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert from the renowned Hamer Hall in Melbourne, Australia. On this day every year, jazz is celebrated worldwide, bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities in more than 190 countries on all seven continents. The resulting new one-hour music special, “International Jazz Day from Australia,” will air on Arizona PBS on Friday, April 24 at 9 p.m.
The All-Star Global Concert highlights a remarkable meeting of jazz masters from Australia, Brazil, China, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia and the United States. The concert’s many historic moments include a stunning performance of “Seems I’m Never Tired of Loving You” by the phenomenal Lizz Wright, along with Jazz Day debuts by Brazilian guitarist/vocalist Chico Pinheiro and American songstress Jane Monheit on Antonio Carlo Jobim’s classic composition “The Waters of March.”
Imbued with musical influences from six continents, the program spans genres from bebop to bossa nova—from a swinging rendition of Ben Webster’s tongue-in-cheek classic “Did You Call Her Today,” featuring acclaimed vocalist Kurt Elling, to a groove-soaked reading of Wayne Shorter’s “Beauty and the Beast” with pianist and Jazz Day Co-Chair Herbie Hancock, saxophonist Tineke Postma, drummer Antonio Sánchez, and bassist Ben Williams.
The show kicks off with a magnificent improvisational exchange between Australian trumpeter James Morrison and aboriginal didgeridoo master William Barton, beginning the evening by honoring the past and present of Australian music and culture. Rwandan-American singer songwriter Somi delivers a searing update to Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat classic “Lady (Revisited),” while vocal sensation Ledisi brings down the house with her version of Otis Redding’s hit “Try A Little Tenderness,” featuring support from organist Joey DeFrancesco and a stacked horn section. Later, DeFrancesco leads trumpeter Theo Croker and saxophonist Eli Degibri in an effortless groove over Herbie Hancock’s composition “One Finger Snap.” Capturing the evening’s message of harmony and unity, the entire ensemble joins in on a passionate performance of John Lennon’s iconic “Imagine.”
For more than a century, the truly American music of jazz has promoted peace, diversity, individual expression, dialogue among cultures, and respect for human dignity. International Jazz Day highlights the unifying attributes of this music through live performances, education programs and special events worldwide.
International Jazz Day was first celebrated in 2012, and is recognized on the official calendars of both the United Nations and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Each year on April 30, universities, libraries, schools, arts centers, organizations of all disciplines, artists and jazz enthusiasts all over the world honor this revered musical art form that for decades has brought together people of different cultures, religions and nationalities.