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International Jazz Day is a yearly event on 30
April, organized by UNESCO to celebrate “the virtues of jazz
as an educational tool, and a force for peace, unity,
dialogue and enhanced cooperation among people.”
The Day was proclaimed during the UNESCO General Conference
in November 2011. The first annual International Jazz Day
was kicked off in Paris by UNESCO Director-General Irina
Bokova and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock.
UNESCO partners with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.
Jazz is a music genre that originated at the beginning of
the 20th Century, arguably earlier, within the
African-American communities of the Southern United States.
Its roots lie in the combining by African-Americans of
certain European harmony and form elements, with their
existing African-based music. Its African musical basis is
evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms,
syncopation and the swung note. From its early development
until the present day, jazz has also incorporated elements
from popular music especially, in its early days, from
American popular music.
As the music has developed and spread around the world it
has, since its early American beginnings, drawn on many
different national, regional and local musical cultures,
giving rise to many distinctive styles: New Orleans jazz
dating from the early 1910s, big band swing, Kansas City
jazz and Gypsy jazz from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the
mid-1940s on down through Afro-Cuban jazz, West Coast jazz,
ska jazz, cool jazz, Indo jazz, avant-garde jazz, soul jazz,
modal jazz, chamber jazz, free jazz, Latin jazz in various
forms, smooth jazz, jazz fusion and jazz rock, jazz funk,
loft jazz, punk jazz, acid jazz, ethno jazz, jazz rap, cyber
jazz, M-Base, nu jazz and other ways of playing the music.
Talking of swing, Louis Armstrong, one of the most famous
musicians in jazz, said to Bing Crosby on the latter's radio
show, "Ah, swing, well, we used to call it syncopation, then
they called it ragtime, then blues, then jazz. Now, it's
swing. White folks - yo'all sho is a mess!"
In a 1988 interview, trombonist J. J. Johnson said, "Jazz is
restless. It won't stay put and it never will".