Thousands of International Jazz Day 2016 Performances and Education Programs Paying Tribute to Jazz Are Presented in Global Host City Washington, D.C. and 195 Countries on All 7 Continents

Paris and Washington, D.C. – The fifth annual International Jazz Day celebration came to a thrilling close on April 30th with the worldwide broadcast and streaming of the International Jazz Day 2016 All-Star Global Concert from the White House. The concert was aired as a one-hour ABC primetime network television special in the United States and streamed in its entirety around the world through the United Nations, UNESCO and websites.

Billed as “Jazz at The White House,” the televised International Jazz Day 2016 concert hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama featured dozens of world-renowned musicians performing throughout The White House and on the South Lawn. In his introductory remarks, President Obama said, “Jazz is perhaps the most honest reflection of who we are as a nation.  After all, has there ever been any greater improvisation than America itself?  We do it our own way. We move forward even when the road ahead is uncertain, stubbornly insistent that we’ll get to somewhere better, confident that we’ve got all the right notes up our sleeve.

The concert featured the incomparable Aretha Franklin performing “A Song for You” with Herbie Hancock. Show host Morgan Freeman introduced Trombone Shorty, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Kurt Elling, who performed “St. James Infirmary” with New Orleans’ own Rebirth Brass Band. Other highlights from the televised concert included Sting performing his hit “Sister Moon” with guitar virtuoso Pat Metheny, and Al Jarreau collaborating with Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour, Sadao Watanabe, Christian McBride and Brian Blade for a rendition of “Take Five.”

Buddy Guy fronted an all-star group with “Meet Me in Chicago,” and jazz master Wayne Shorter joined forces with bass and vocals phenom Esperanza Spalding and 12-year-old piano prodigy Joey Alexander for a multi-generational performance of his classic “Footprints.” The concert also featured stellar performances by Diana Krall, Jamie Cullum, Dianne Reeves, Chucho Valdés, Terence Blanchard, Paquito D’Rivera, and South African trumpet icon Hugh Masekela. The spectacular concert ended on a high note with the cast performing the beloved John Lennon anthem, “Imagine.”

Coordinated each year by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, International Jazz Day highlights the power of jazz as a force for freedom and creativity, promotes intercultural dialogue through respect and understanding, and unites people from all corners of the globe. The day is recognized on the official calendars of UNESCO and the United Nations. International Jazz Day 2016 programs were made possible by Toyota, the Lead Partner.

As Global Host City of International Jazz Day 2016, Washington, D.C. presented more than 50 free jazz performances along with educational and community service programs in all quadrants of the city. The day began with the International Jazz Day Co-Chairs, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and legendary jazz pianist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, leading an opening ceremony at Washington’s historic Dupont Circle.

Beyond Washington, D.C., an enormous range of jazz performances and programs took place in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 190 countries on all 7 continents. In Yerevan, Armenia, the Armenian State Jazz Big Band played jazz standards, while in New Zealand, the University of Auckland held a lecture exploring the city’s jazz heritage. Lagos, Nigeria presented Satchmo’s Jazz & Cultural Festival Lagos, while Puerto Rico’s Jazz and Bossa Radio featured special programming dedicated to International Jazz Day. More than 30 venues across South Korea participated in Korea Jazz Club Day, and organized a joyous jazz parade in the streets of downtown Brussels.

United Airlines served as Official Airline of International Jazz Day 2016.

The ABC special was produced by Don Mischer Productions.

For International Jazz Day DC media photos, please visit

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