From my opening comments in launching mylifeinjazz late in 2021 right the way through the many blogs and curated playlists that have followed I have been keen to underline that while jazz was born in the USA and represents a uniquely important musical contribution derived primarily from the work of African American musicians its influence has spread right across the world. Contemporary jazz is now as likely to be shaped by Scandinavian, middle eastern or South Asian influences as the blues or the timeless repertoire associated with the great American songbook. And many of these global influences are now in turn being referenced in much contemporary jazz in America.
So, it was a particular pleasure to receive the film, compered by jazz master Herbie Hancock to celebrate the 12th International Jazz Day. Jazz has been accorded this day each year by UNESCO Check out UNESCO’s secretary general Audrey Azoulay’s moving introduction at 17.30 on the tape, with a powerful quote from Wayne Shorter, who died earlier this year framing her remarks. Shorter was of course Herbie Hancock’s lifelong friend and musical collaborator for over 60 years. Herbie joins a mid-generation band to play homage to Wayne on one of his foundational composition Footprints in one of the musical extracts.
On this occasion, given that the video presents over an hour of contemporary music from 14 different venues around the world I won’t be attaching a playlist. From my point of view the 3 excerpts that really stopped me in my tracks were the videos from Vienna, Zimbabwe and Beirut. Listen to Herbie Hancock’s moving spoken links and enjoy the music.
I’d like to end with a quintessential quote from Wayne Shorter,
“What is the best gift you can give back to life? Try something original”