World-renowned jazz musician Herbie Hancock will once again be performing in Japan next month when he headlines the celebration of the International Jazz Day 2014 in Osaka. The city has been chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to be the host of the festivities on April 30, which will be held at the Osaka Castle Park.
Hancock, who is also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, says that Japanese jazz fans are among the best in the world and this is his chance to show how much the industry appreciates their support for this genre. He also admits that he may have performed more times in Japan than in his native Chicago, from the first time he went here as part of the Miles Davis’ quintet in 1964. He said that Japanese fans recognize jazz as an art form, even more than the audience in the United States. “Japanese fans are very loyal,” he said.
Osaka was specifically chosen to be the host city because according to Tom Carter, the president of the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, this is a place that played a huge role in the development of jazz in the country and still has a vibrant jazz scene up to today. American and Filipino musicians introduced the genre to Japan in the 1920s and Osaka’s dance halls thrived with this kind of music. Even while the Imperial Army tried to ban jazz during World War II, they were unable to do so, and it flourished even more during the American occupation.
The International Jazz Day festivities also include a series of educational programs and performances at the Osaka School of Music and will culminate with a free outdoor concert which will be streamed live worldwide. Aside from Hancock, other performers include Wayne Shorter, Kenny Garrett, Terumasa Hino, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gregory Porter, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding, Earl Klugh and John Scofield.
[ via The Republic ]