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FunTimes Magazine

International Jazz Day

Apr 30, 2021 01:30PM ● By Kassidy Garland

In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO, officially designated April 30th as International Jazz Day. The day aims to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role in uniting people of all corners of the globe.

Jazz originated in the African American communities based in New Orleans in the late 19th century. Jazz has roots in blues, swing, and ragtime, and is characterized by its vocal and instrumental riffs. Jazz grew in popularity throughout the 20th century with artists like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday. 

Louis Armstrong


The word Jazz is said to mean “pep” or “energy”, as it is very similar to the popular term “Jasm” from the 1860s. Originally, the word was actually spelled J-A-S-S and was known as a dirty word until Broadway took it and changed the spelling to a double “z”. Jazz then became the word of the 20th century due to its incredible popularity.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and jazz legend Herbie Hancock lead the board. The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is a nonprofit that plans, promotes, and produces the annual celebration. Education programs, performances, community outreach, and media coverage of the day unite people in every corner of the globe. 

In December of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally welcomed the decision by the UNESCO General Conference to proclaim April 30th as International Jazz Day, which comes at the end of Jazz Appreciation Month. The United Nations and UNESCO now both recognize International Jazz Day on their official calendars.

Ella Fitzgerald

This year, the April 30th celebration will entail a 10-year anniversary All-Star Global concert live stream. The live stream will be available at 5 pm (US EDT) on a number of platforms including,, YouTube, and Facebook, and will be hosted by UN Messenger of Peace, Michael Douglas. The live stream will also include performances by Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Andra Day, Dianne Reeves, and more.

 Kassidy Garland has had a great appreciation for reading and writing since she was young. She graduated from West Chester University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English & Women and Gender Studies. With a concentration in creative writing, Kassidy has 5 years of experience writing blogs, articles, and for social media. Based out of Philadelphia, Kassidy loves to write about a number of topics and looks forward to sharing her passion with those at FunTimes Magazine. 

Read more from Kassidy Garland:

World Book and Copyright Day: Celebrate By Supporting Black-Owned Bookstores in Philadelphia

Leaders To Be Aware of On World Day Of Social Justice

“Lift Every Voice and Sing”: Understanding The Black National Anthem