Every year on the final day of April, the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month arrives in the freewheeling form of International Jazz Day. Christened in 2011 by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Jazz Day celebrates the power of jazz as cultural ambassador. It’s a day devoted to recognizing the positive spirit and unifying power of jazz music. This year’s global headlining concert takes place in Osaka, Japan.
In the words of jazz legend and UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, Herbie Hancock, “Music has always served as a bridge between different cultures, and no musical art form is more effective as a diplomatic tool than jazz. On International Jazz Day, jazz is celebrated, studied and performed around the world for 24 hours straight. Collaborations abound among jazz icons, scholars, composers, musicians, dancers, writers and thinkers who embrace the beauty, spirit and principles of jazz, freely sharing experiences and performances in our big cities and in our small towns, all across our seven continents.”
KMHD, in cooperation with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, has been designated the West Coast representative of International Jazz Day. We will be at Jimmy Mak’s with Portland’s living legend, drummer and bandleader Mel Brown, who will be performing the first set with his top-call quartet. The elegance, wit and joy that Mel Brown brings to the stage speaks to the depth of jazz.
The second set features Mel’s son, Christopher Brown, a drummer cut from his father’s cloth, as he leads his own quartet on an exploration of 80’s pop hits transformed into hummin’ jazz tunes.
We cannot think of a more fitting way to celebrate the vibrant legacy of jazz than by showcasing a family affair that bridges years and speaks to the tradition of jazz music being handed down from one generation to the next. We’ll see you there on the night of International Jazz Day.