Istanbul Celebrates International Jazz Day
About the Author: Gabrielle Price serves as Information Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey.
As the sun set over the Bosporus, three generations of American jazz greats ranging from Wayne Shorter to Branford Marsalis to Esperanza Spalding came together at the home of U.S. Consul General Scott Kilner for a prelude celebration of UNESCO International Jazz Day. Observed in over 196 countries on April 30 of each year, International Jazz Day acknowledges the unifying power of jazz, the musical art form born in America and enjoyed worldwide. This year, Istanbul serves as the host city of International Jazz Day; a nod to the musical legacy of Ahmet and Nesih Ertugun, the founders of Atlantic Records, who as the adolescent sons of the Turkish Ambassador to Washington, used jazz concerts at the Turkish Embassy to break down the color line in the nation’s capital.
Jazz music knows no class, creed, or color.… more »
American Quartet Hits All the Right Notes at Historic St. Louis Jazz Festival in Senegal
About the Author: Kristin M. Kane serves as Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
There is something special about seeing American jazz played in Africa: The audience responds in a unique way — as do the musicians performing the music.
Such was the case at the recent St. Louis Jazz Festival: St. Louis, Senegal, that is. The former capital of French Africa and a UNESCO world heritage site, the city is known for its crumbling but still-captivating architecture on the mile-long island on the border of Mauritania. The festival, the most important of its kind in Africa, celebrated its 20th year last week. The brand-new Minister of Culture, Youssou Ndour, otherwise known as one of Africa’s leading artists, declared for the first time that the festival’s tickets would be free.
During the opening ceremony, Ndour handed the U.S. Embassy an award to show the appreciation of our contributions to jazz over the years. In years past, jazz greats,…more »
Celebrating International Jazz Day
About the Author: David Killion serves as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO.
Back in the United States my colleagues at the State Department have long recognizedthe power of jazz as a means of connecting people. More than 50 years ago, the Department launched a landmark jazz diplomacy effort featuring American musical legend Dizzy Gillespie. Ever since then, jazz has been a continuing feature of U.S. cultural engagement programs. (See some great old photos here.)
Well, I am very proud to announce the latest chapter in the State Department’s “jazz diplomacy” program kicks… more »
All That Jazz
About the Author: Dr. Esther Brimmer serves as Assistant Secretary of State for theBureau of International Organization Affairs.
On an unseasonably cold and rainy Sunday, the action inside the Smithsonian’s new Warner Bros Theatre was anything but dreary. The afternoon’s celebration of jazz featured a roundtable discussion with jazz experts followed by musical performances before a crowd of diplomats and other invited guests.
I was thrilled to co-host our inaugural Embassy Jazz Day, Bridging Cultures Crossing Divides, with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History this past weekend. This occasion provided the opportunity to mark the role jazz plays in creating linkages between peoples, communities, and cultures while also enabling the next generation of jazz innovators to perform including Howard University’s Afro Blue and Lena Seikaly. This event also represented a first: a partnership… more »