In the shadow of Osaka Castle, many of the world’s greatest jazz musicians performed for the 3rd annual International Jazz Day concert.  (Osaka was known as Japan’s “jazz mecca” in the mid-1920s.)  Sponsored by UNESCO and chaired by UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, the event opened with the haunting and raw sound of Steve Turre’s trademark conch shells and Japanese drumming led by master Taiko drummer Shuichi Hidano.

Hancock, who also played a duet with saxophonist Wayne Shorter (Dutch composer Michiel Borstlap’s “Memory of Enchantment”), said, “Jazz is a model for democracy and diplomacy.”

UNESCO assistant secretary general Hans d’Orville called jazz “the quintessential soft power of the 21st century.”

Hancock reported that viewers were watching the live stream of the concert from 196 countries, and at the South Pole.  Astronauts from Expedition 39 aboard the International Space Station sent their  weighty (yet weightless) greetings from 260 miles above the earth, to which Hancock replied, “Jazz is truly cosmic!”

The concert is now available on demand at YouTube.  (Concert begins about the 30 minute mark.) 

Jazz89 KUVO is celebrating International Jazz Day with two concerts broadcast live from the Phyllis A. Greer Performance Studio at the Five Points Media Center (2900 Welton St., Denver, 80205): at 5:00 p.m. the Rich Chiaraluce Quintet, and at 7:00 p.m. the Big Panic Big Band.  Details here.

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