Massachusetts Celebrates International Jazz Day, April 30

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(Caption: Jazz Trumpeter Jason Palmer)

Massachusetts is celebrating International Jazz Day on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 with a series of special activities across the Commonwealth. The global testimony to jazz is the culmination of jazz appreciation month across the United States, sponsored each April by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick issued a proclamation declaring April as Jazz Month in Massachusetts, in recognition of the state’s vibrant jazz scene and its distinguished tradition of supporting jazz and producing world-renowned artists.

International Jazz Day is being celebrated locally at Emmanuel Church, located at 15 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay at 7:00 p.m. on April 30. It’s a special concert organized by JazzBoston, a non-profit group that actively promotes jazz throughout the year, as part of its 8th annual JazzWeek. The concert is free and open to the public.

The keynote speaker and featured performer is jazz pianist Danilo Perez, the Panama-born musician, educator, and social activists who heads the Global Jazz Institute at Berklee College of Music. He’ll perform his ‘three dimensional’ music, which weaves together jazz and Pan-American folk traditions with European classical music.

The concert also features local performers like Either/Orchestra, Ken Fields, Jason Palmer and more. You can find a schedule of performers at Emmanuel Church plus a calendar of jazz events taking place during JazzWeek, which runs through May 4, 2014.

International Jazz Day was first introduced in 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and has become a global tradition that celebrates one of America’s original and distinctive art forms. This year Osaka, Japan is the official host city of International Jazz Day, with a special concert featuring jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and other great musicians from around the world.

Massachusetts is one of the only states in America whose tourism agency actively promotes jazz year round to the convention and visitors industry. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism helped launch MassJazz in 2009 to promote the state’s many jazz festivals, concerts, campus events, and other jazz activities taking place from Boston to the Berkshires, from Cape Cod to the Merrimack Valley and everywhere in between.

The jazz scene is propelled here by the world-class jazz studies programs at Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, UMASS/Amherst, and almost two dozen other jazz programs. These programs attract aspiring musicians from around the world, contributing to the state’s reputation as an international crossroads for culture and learning.

Jazz, along with other performing arts genres, is part of Massachusetts’ creative economy, which employs over 100,000 people and contributes $1 billion to the state’s economy, according to Helena Fruscio, director of the state’s Creative Industries efforts.

If you’re looking for more information about Massachusett’s jazz scene, check out MassJazz.com any time of the year. Happy listening!