G’day, Jazz: Australia to Host 2019 International Jazz Day Global Concert

Australian trumpeter James Morrison will serve as artistic co-director of the 2019 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert. (Photo courtesy the artist)

Say “G’day” to your 2019 International Jazz Day lineup. Today, the UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock announced the program for the 2019 edition of International Jazz Day, which will be launched in Australia and celebrated in more than 190 countries.

On April 29 and 30, a wide range of jazz performances, educational programs and community service initiatives will be presented in partnership with the Melbourne Conservatorium, featuring more than a dozen celebrated jazz masters. The events on International Jazz Day itself (April 30) will culminate in an All-Star Global Concert at the Melbourne Arts Centre’s Hamer Hall.  It will be webcast via YouTube, Facebook, the United Nations and UNESCO to millions of viewers worldwide.

Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (U.S.) and acclaimed trumpeter James Morrison (Australia) will serve as artistic co-directors of the All-Star Global Concert, and John Beasley (U.S.) will serve as the evening’s musical director. (Watch video of Morrison playing with saxophonists Igor Butman and Branford Marsalis at last year’s International Jazz Day Global Concert in St. Petersburg, Russia.)


This year’s concert will feature performances by an international roster of artists from more than a dozen countries. Confirmed performers include Cieavash Arian (Iran), William Barton (Australia), Dee Dee Bridgewater (U.S.), Till Brönner (Germany), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Eli Degibri (Israel), Kurt Elling (U.S.), Matthew Jodrell (Australia), Ledisi (U.S.), Eijiro Nakagawa (Japan), Mark Nightingale (United Kingdom), Chico Pinheiro (Brazil), Tineke Postma (Netherlands), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Nathan Schreiber (Australia), Somi (U.S.), Lizz Wright (U.S.) and Tarek Yamani (Lebanon).  More artists are expected to be announced.

In the week prior to International Jazz Day, the celebration will kick off with a jazz education program for student musicians in the indigenous community of Yarrabah in Far Northern Australia, to be followed by a similar program 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 April 30th 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. (Did you miss our Top 10 Herbie Hancock Albums list? Check it out here.)

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