International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day premiered Friday, April 10, 2015.

PBS Arts
The world's greatest musicians gathered at the United Nations to celebrate jazz music.

About the Program

Jazz is a musical art form embraced all over the world. For more than a century, jazz has helped soothe and uplift the souls of millions of people in all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day is a means to highlight and leverage the unifying attributes of this music through celebratory events and programs worldwide on April 30 of each year. International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication.

Every year on April 30 for 24 hours straight, jazz is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity and respect for human dignity; eradicating discrimination; fostering gender equality; and promoting individual expression, through performances and programs in all 196 UN and UNESCO member nations. 

Some of the world’s greatest musicians from jazz and other genres assembled at the United Nations in 2012 to celebrate the first annual International Jazz Day. Concert highlights include the first-ever performance by Stevie Wonder with Esperanza Spalding; Michael Douglas introducing South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, who was inspired by Douglas’ father, Kirk Douglas, to become a trumpet player; Herbie Hancock joining piano virtuoso Lang Lang of China for an extraordinary duet and an electrifying performance from Tony Bennett.

Read the full list of artists below.

A Closer Look at International Jazz Day

The Full List of Artists


Tony Bennett

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Robert Cray

Chaka Kahn

Angelique Kidjo

Shankar Mahadevan

Esperanza Spalding

Susan Tedeschi

Stevie Wonder



Robert Cray

Lionel Loueke

Romero Lubambo

Susan Tedeschi

Derek Trucks




Candido Camero

Jack DeJohnette

Vinnie Colaiuta

Sheila E.

Zakir Hussain

Bobby Sanabria



Eli Digibri

Jimmy Heath

Joe Lovano

Wayne Shorter



George Duke

Herbie Hancock

Lang Lang

Danilo Perez

Hiromi Uehara

Stevie Wonder



Terence Blanchard

Wynton Marsalis

Hugh Masekela



Richard Bona

Ron Carter

Christian McBride



International Jazz Day was produced by Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and Hudson River Films.


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