Institute Concludes Educational & Cultural Tour of Jordan

The Institute completed its first international tour since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with jazz legend and Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock joining acclaimed saxophonist Don Braden and the seven students of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA for a week of teaching, learning and cultural exchange in the Kingdom of Jordan. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the May program continued the Institute’s commitment to using jazz to advance diplomacy, dialogue between cultures and mutual understanding.

Over the course of five days, the Institute delegation visited prominent educational, performing arts and community service organizations in and around the Jordanian capital, Amman, offering free concerts and master classes for local students and jazz lovers. Complementing the extensive outreach programs were visits to the vaunted 5th-century BC city of Petra, as well as outdoor concerts at the ancient ruins of Gadara in Umm Qais and the Odeon, a Roman amphitheater situated in the heart of downtown Amman.

A Focus on Education

As part of the tour’s educational offerings, young Jordanians aspiring to careers in music gathered at the King Hussein Foundation’s National Centre for Culture and Arts (NCCA) for an informance, concert and jam session with the Institute band. Led by Braden, the Institute of Jazz Performance students gave musical demonstrations of every major stylistic touchpoint in jazz, from ragtime to present day. To represent the fusion era, the group invited Hancock up for a performance of his landmark composition “Actual Proof.” Later, Institute of Jazz Performance clarinetist Matthew Stubbs led a demonstration of the connections between Western classical music and jazz.

Class of 2023 vocalist Darynn Dean performs alongside teaching artist Don Braden during the Institute’s master class at Jordan’s National Centre for Culture and Arts. (Photo by Steve Mundinger / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz)

The intensive session gave the assembled Jordanian musicians an invaluable opportunity to listen to and learn from world-class jazz artists in an intimate setting, and to share their own talents and musical perspectives. To close the educational program, more than a dozen music students and faculty from the NCCA and Jordan’s National Music Conservatory gave a special performance fusing traditional Jordanian music with contemporary improvisational forms. The entire group then convened for a spirited jam session, demonstrating that when it comes to jazz music, no translation is required.

Musical Relief

Perhaps the most moving moment of the trip came in the northern city of Jerash, where the Institute delegation gathered to perform for a group of Syrian refugee girls at the Princess Taghrid Institute for Development and Training. Established by Jordan’s King Abdullah and led by Princess Taghrid Mohammad, the Princess Taghrid Institute provides lodging, education and psychological support to orphaned and abandoned girls, including those displaced by the ongoing war in Syria, which has led to an influx of more than 1 million refugees over the border into Jordan. The musicians’ interactive presentation included the performance of jazz standards and original compositions, a basic introduction to the history and significance of jazz music, and an instrument “petting zoo” for the youngsters, many of whom had never had opportunities to hold musical instruments in their hands.

The Institute of Jazz Performance students lead a musical presentation for Syrian refugees at the Princess Taghrid Institute for Development and Training in Jerash. (Photo by Steve Mundinger / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz)
A young student at the Princess Taghrid Institute for Development and Training tries her hand at the drums as part of the Institute delegation’s visit. (Photo by Steve Mundinger / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz)

Memorable Performances

With the blessing of Jordan’s Department of Antiquities, Hancock, Braden and the Institute students also brought the contemporary sounds of jazz into some of the Kingdom’s storied archaeological sites. At Umm Qais, against the iconic backdrop of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights, the group gave an hourlong concert for Jordanian officials and guests, showcasing a range of original compositions and inventive takes on some of Hancock’s classic tunes. At the final concert at the Odeon, the multigenerational band illuminated the millennia-old amphitheater with songs blurring the lines between jazz, blues and local traditional music, including an Arabic maqam-inflected performance of “Autumn Leaves” featuring renowned Jordanian vocalist Macadi Nahhas.

The Jordan tour proved an apt addition to the long tradition of U.S. State Department-led cultural diplomacy abroad, following in the footsteps of the famed Jazz Ambassadors program from the 1950s. As one American diplomat remarked of the Institute’s visit, “It’s remarkable and wonderful that here we are, almost 70 years after [the Jazz Ambassadors] program began, still connecting with each other through the beauty and inclusiveness of jazz music. That is the power of this art form.”

Special thanks to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S. Embassy in Jordan for sponsoring this program.

Air transportation for the May 2022 Jordan tour was provided by United Airlines, the official airline of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz.

U.S. Embassy in Jordan organizes musical performances, educational workshops by jazz legend Herbie Hancock, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

Amman, Jordan – The U.S. Embassy in Jordan announces the arrival of jazz legend Herbie Hancock, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Ensemble at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and guest Don Braden for a series of musical performances and workshops across Jordan.  The musical tour celebrates U.S.-Jordanian cultural ties through arts and music.  It is sponsored by the Arts Envoy Program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and developed in partnership with the Jordan Ministry of Tourism, Department of Antiquities, National Music Conservatory, National Center for the Culture and Arts, the University of Jordan, King Hussein Foundation, and Princess Taghreed Institute. 

Chargé d’Affaires Mike Hankey welcomed the musical tour, emphasizing its importance to diplomacy: “The language of great art needs no translation because it speaks to all of us.  And diplomats and political leaders have much to learn from the collaboration inherent in jazz.  Herbie Hancock has spent decades bringing together audiences around the world through his music.”  Hankey highlighted the long tradition of American jazz ambassadors, recalling the 1963 visit by jazz great Duke Ellington in Amman at the Roman Theater as part of a global tour supported by the U.S. Department of State.  Hancock expressed his delight to perform in Jordan, noting that while jazz originated in the United States, it now belongs to the entire world.  He added, “In addition to its artistic significance, jazz actually is a music that promotes peace, freedom, and democratic values. It is an art form with real applications to our world today.” 

Herbie Hancock is a 14-time GRAMMY Award winner and Academy Award winner, and internationally renowned pianist and composer who has been an integral part of every jazz movement since the 1960s.  In 2007, he won the GRAMMY for Album of the Year, becoming the first jazz musician to receive this honor in 44 years.  Hancock was designated a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue in 2011 in light of his profound dedication to the promotion of peace through dialogue, culture and the arts. He also serves as Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz and Professor of Music at the University of California Los Angeles.  Hancock has performed for the U.S. Department of State in Morocco, Egypt, and India, and many other places around the world.  The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is a nonprofit education organization with a mission to offer the world’s most promising young musicians college level training by internationally acclaimed jazz masters and to present public school music education programs for young people around the world. 

Hancock’s itinerary in Jordan includes performances in Irbid, Jerash, and Amman, and engagement with Jordanian artists and youth.  Audiences will include students at the University of Jordan and the National Center for Culture and Arts, and attendees at prominent archeological sites and community service institutes.  The tour continues the extensive engagement by the U.S. Embassy in Jordan and the U.S. Department of State focused on strengthening U.S.-Jordanian cultural ties through music, arts, cultural heritage, community programs, and exchanges.  Air transportation for the tour was provided by United Airlines, the official airline of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. 

Institute Presents Educational Jazz Informance at U.S. Department of Education, Hosted by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

The Institute’s recent jazz informance at the U.S. Department of Education displayed all the hallmarks that have made the annual event a favorite for Department colleagues and DC public school students and teachers alike. These included a superb student group–the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet, a renowned guest artist–internationally acclaimed trumpeter Sean Jones­–and the pedagogical prowess of jazz educator and Institute Vice President of Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas. This year, the presentation featured one other notable element: the participation of U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, who traded his customary speaker’s podium for a pair of bongos and joined in on lively renditions of Herbie Hancock’s compositions “Chameleon” and “Watermelon Man.”

Back in the Groove

The April 19 jazz informance brought audiences back into the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building after two years of virtual presentations due to the pandemic. The excitement in the auditorium was palpable as dozens of Department of Education officials, students and educators–including 2021 National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey–took their seats. In parallel, students in hundreds of school districts across the United States and music lovers around the world had the opportunity to watch the afternoon program via livestream on the Department of Education’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona (far left) performs alongside the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Sextet at the U.S. Department of Education, April 19, 2022. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Education)

“Jazz is the Great Equalizer”

In just over 90 minutes, students from the Institute’s Jazz in the Classroom programs in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., led by Dr. JB Dyas, demonstrated the roots and rhythms of jazz through a dynamic series of performances and presentations. The session included explanations of jazz history, performance practices, and the music’s role in promoting equality and mutual understanding among people with vastly different backgrounds. “Jazz is the great equalizer,” Dr. Dyas noted to resounding applause, because in a jazz group, factors like ethnicity, religion and gender all become secondary to “what you have inside.”

Institute Vice President of Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas (left) leads the April 19 jazz informance alongside Sean Jones (fourth from right) and the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Sextet. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Education)

The student quintet, made up of pupils from the Institute’s Jazz in the Classroom and National Performing Arts High Schools jazz programs, included alto saxophonists Ebban Dorsey and Quinn Rehkemper from the Baltimore School for the Arts; tenor saxophonist Elijah Woodward and pianist José André Montaño from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; and drummer Jillian Upshaw from Woodrow Wilson High School. Leading the performances was Peabody Institute professor Sean Jones.

“Jazz can teach us about ourselves…it’s nothing short of enlightening.”

– Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education

In his remarks before taking to the bandstand with the Institute group, Secretary Cardona emphasized the centrality of students in the Department of Education’s activities. “You give us purpose,” he declared to the assembled young musicians. “We can’t thank you enough for brightening our lives with your talent–each of you is an inspiration.” The Secretary also touched on the valuable practical lessons jazz offers, noting that “jazz can teach us about ourselves, and how to overcome adversity. Watching a live jazz performance is a lesson in leadership–listening and collaborating, improvising and improving, recognizing and reimagining…it’s nothing short of enlightening.”

Watch the complete jazz informance below, including Secretary Cardona’s performance:

Institute Announces Delaware Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tour, May 16-22

Weeklong series of events includes two performances open to the public at Keystone Korner in Baltimore on May 22

Washington, DC – With lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and United Airlines, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz will bring its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program to Delaware public schools May 16-20, 2022. Combining performance with educational information, these “informances” will be presented by the National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet, comprising five of the country’s most gifted high school music students. They will be featured alongside internationally acclaimed saxophone recording artist Bobby Watson, Kansas City jazz and blues vocalist and a former winner of the Institute’s International Jazz Vocals Competition Lisa Henry, and renowned jazz educator Dr. JB Dyas. Each school visit will include an assembly program featuring a musical performance for all students, followed by workshops for each school’s jazz band and choir with the visiting student performers playing alongside and sharing ideas with their Delaware counterparts.

“We’ve found that sometimes young people can learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of them is jazz,” said jazz great Herbie Hancock, Institute Chairman, NEA Jazz Master, and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “And when you hear how accomplished these musicians are at such a young age, you know their peers are going to listen.”

Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the students will talk with their Delaware peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss the important American values that jazz represents: teamwork, freedom with responsibility, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, and the importance of finding a passion early in life, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this important message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.

The members of the all-star quintet selected nationwide to participate in the Delaware tour include trumpeter Loren Littlejohn (18) from Dallas; tenor saxophonist Leo Milano (17) from Chicago; pianist José André Montaño (16) from Washington, DC; bassist Camara Dupree (16) from New Orleans; and drummer Matthew Fu (18) from Houston. “I had the opportunity to sit in with Mr. Watson the last time he performed at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago” said Milano, who is one of the best tenor saxophonists for his age in the country. “I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time, and now having the opportunity to tour with and learn from him is really incredible!”

Immediately following the informances, Watson, Henry, and Dyas will conduct jazz workshops for each host school’s jazz band and choir. The visiting students will play side-by-side with their Delaware counterparts, providing tutelage peer to peer. In so doing, they will teach and learn from one another not unlike what Herbie Hancock did with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and so many other eminent band mates over the past half century. They’ll also learn about each other’s cities and cultures.

“We’re really looking forward to traveling to this historic part of the country,” added Fu, who was recently selected to this year’s edition of the Carnegie Hall National Youth Jazz Orchestra. “We’re even planning a day trip to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell and other U.S. historical landmarks.”

The weeklong tour will conclude with two performances open to the public on May 22 at Baltimore’s iconic jazz club, Keystone Korner (1350 Lancaster St.), where Baltimore residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Watson and Henry alongside jazz’s future “young lions.” The septet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, including compositions from Watson’s and Henry’s latest recordings. The shows begin at 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm. For further information call 410-946-6726 or visit www.keystonekornerbaltimore.com.

Learn more about the Peer-to-Peer jazz education program

Download the full press release

Institute Set to Bring All-Star HS Jazz Quintet to Milwaukee Public Schools for Peer-to-Peer Tour, May 9-13

Featuring internationally renowned recording artists Sean Jones and Lisa Henry

Washington, DC – With lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and United Airlines, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz will bring its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program to Milwaukee public schools May 9-13, 2022. Combining performance with educational information, these “informances” will be presented by the National Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet, comprising five of the country’s most gifted high school music students. They will be featured alongside internationally acclaimed trumpet recording artist Sean Jones, Kansas City jazz and blues vocalist and a former winner of the Institute’s International Jazz Vocals Competition Lisa Henry, and renowned jazz educator Dr. JB Dyas. Each school visit will include an assembly program featuring a musical performance for all students, followed by workshops for each school’s jazz band and choir with the visiting student performers playing alongside and sharing ideas with their Milwaukee counterparts.

“We’ve found that sometimes young people can learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of them is jazz,” said jazz great Herbie Hancock, Institute Chairman, NEA Jazz Master, and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “And when you hear how accomplished these musicians are at such a young age, you know their peers are going to listen.”

Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the students will talk with their Wisconsin peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss the important American values that jazz represents: teamwork, freedom with responsibility, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, and the importance of finding a passion early in life, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this important message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.

The members of the all-star quintet selected nationwide to participate in the Wisconsin tour include alto saxophonist Ebban Dorsey (17) from Baltimore; trombonist Melvin Nimtz (18) from New Orleans; pianist Nathan Tatsuta (15) from Santa Ana, CA; bassist Kenny Haddox (17) from Dallas; and drummer JJ Mazza (17) from Denver. “We’ve really grown a lot by exploring Sean Jones’ music in preparation for the tour,” said Dorsey, who was featured in last year’s peer-to-peer jazz group which presented a jazz informance webinar for the US Department of Education (and has now had over a half million views on YouTube). “His compositions are both a challenge and a joy to play and listen to.”

Immediately following the informances, Jones, Henry, and Dyas will conduct jazz workshops for each host school’s jazz band and choir. The visiting students will play side-by-side with their Wisconsin counterparts, providing tutelage peer to peer. In so doing, they will teach and learn from one another not unlike what Herbie Hancock did with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and so many other eminent band mates over the past half century. They’ll also learn about each other’s cities and cultures.

“We’re really looking forward to hanging out and playing jazz with the students in a completely different part of the country,” added Nimtz, who was recently selected to this year’s edition of the Carnegie Hall National Youth Jazz Orchestra. “I’ve heard that not unlike my hometown of New Orleans, Milwaukee takes its jazz seriously.” Indeed, the city has produced such distinguished artists as Lynne Arriale, Bunky Green, Woody Herman, Al Jarreau, Brian Lynch, Willie Pickens, and others of that stature.

The weeklong tour will conclude with two performances open to the public on May 13 at Milwaukee’s newest jazz club, Bar Centro (804 E Center St.), where Milwaukee residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Jones and Henry alongside jazz’s future “young lions.” The septet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, including compositions from Jones’ and Henry’s latest recordings. The shows begin at 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. For further information call 414-455-3751 or visit https://barcentro.com.

Download the complete press release

Learn more about the Peer-to-Peer program

International Jazz Day 2022, April 30th, a Call for Global Peace and Unity

Global Concert from United Nations Headquarters in New York to be hosted by Herbie Hancock, feature Marcus Miller, Gregory Porter, David Sanborn, Hiromi, Pedrito Martínez, Ravi Coltrane, José James, Terri Lyne Carrington, Linda Oh, Shemekia Copeland, Lizz Wright and others

Paris and New York––UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock today announced the program for the 2022 celebration of International Jazz Day, with events taking place in more than 180 countries.

The flagship Jazz Day event, a spectacular All-Star Global Concert, will be staged in the UN General Assembly Hall, in New York, emphasizing the importance of jazz as a means of achieving unity and peace through dialogue and diplomacy. With Herbie Hancock serving as Host and Artistic Director and John Beasley as Musical Director, the program is set to feature performances by some of the world’s most accomplished jazz artists, including vocalists Shemekia Copeland, José James, Youn Sun Nah (Republic of Korea), Gregory Porter, Alune Wade (Senegal) and Lizz Wright; pianists Joey Alexander (Indonesia), Helio Alves (Brazil), Laurent de Wilde (France), Hiromi (Japan), Ray Lema (Democratic Republic of Congo), and Tarek Yamani (Lebanon); drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Brian Blade; bassists James Genus, Marcus Miller and Linda Oh (Australia); saxophonists Ravi Coltrane, David Sanborn and Erena Terakubo (Japan); guitarist Mark Whitfield and trumpeters Randy Brecker and Jeremy Pelt, among others.

Also joining the global ensemble will be harmonicist Grégoire Maret (Switzerland), harpist Edmar Castañeda (Colombia), percussionist Pedrito Martínez (Cuba) and clarinetist Kinan Azmeh (Syria). Further information on the 2022 cast is available on jazzday.com.

This concert will be webcast worldwide on April 30th at 5 pm EDT/2 pm PDT/11 pm CET on jazzday.com, unesco.org, hancockinstitute.org, the International Jazz Day YouTube and Facebook channels, UN Web TV and US State Department outlets.

“Jazz carries a universal message with the power to strengthen dialogue, our understanding of each other, and our mutual respect. As the world is affected by multiple crises and conflicts, this international day highlights how much music and culture can contribute to peace,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

“With conflict and division in many parts of the world, it is my hope that, through the universal language of jazz, our celebration this year can inspire people of all nations to heal, to hope and to work together to foster peace,” said Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, who co-chairs International Jazz Day with the Director-General of UNESCO.

Master classes, concerts, educational and other programs worldwide

In the lead-up to the 2022 All-Star Global Concert, a series of free, online education programs will be presented via In the lead-up to the 2022 All-Star Global Concert, a series of free, online education programs will be presented via jazzday.com, unesco.org, and the official International Jazz Day YouTube and Facebook pages. World-renowned jazz artists including multiple Grammy Award winners Arturo O’Farrill and Terri Lyne Carrington, Oran Etkin, Danny Grissett, Dan Tepfer and others will lead master classes and presentations. A complete listing and schedule of education programs will be available at jazzday.com/education. The 2022 education programs are presented in collaboration with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, the JAM Music Lab University (Vienna) and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, among other organizations.

Shortly before the Global Concert, at 3 pm EDT, UNESCO will celebrate the musical talent of women from across Africa with a second edition of its JazzWomenAfrica concert series. Organized in collaboration with the cultural agency ANYA Music (Morocco), JazzWomenAfrica helps counter the under-representation and insufficient recognition of women in the music industry. A discussion with women artists and music producers on this theme will take place on April 29th at 11 am EDT.

The worldwide program for International Jazz Day 2022 also includes an extraordinary array of programming in more than 180 countries, with concerts and performance-based initiatives complemented by diverse social outreach and educational activities. In Central Africa, the organizers and partners behind the Biennale of Luanda/Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace will present an extensive series of virtual roundtables, concerts, exhibits and other events highlighting the contribution of jazz in promoting peace, uniting people and fostering cooperation around the world. In the Republic of Korea, the Korean Jazz Association and other partners are planning six days of concerts themed around freedom. A “National Jazz Week,” culminating on International Jazz Day, will begin on April 21 across Chile, with participation from UNESCO Artist for Peace Danilo Pérez. Meanwhile on April 29th in the United States, Newark, New Jersey public radio station WGBO will celebrate the renaming of the street on which it resides in honor of legendary jazz musician, composer and Newark native Wayne Shorter.

To learn about the thousands of other events planned in all 50 U.S. states and countries across the world, visit jazzday.com/events.

Major support for International Jazz Day is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Air transportation and additional support for artists and educators is provided by United Airlines, the airline partner of International Jazz Day.

Established by UNESCO in 2011 at the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, and recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities worldwide every 30 April. The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is UNESCO’s partner in the organization and promotion of International Jazz Day.

Download the press release

Learn more about International Jazz Day

Learn more about UNESCO

Media: contact Alisse Kingsley

Watch the U.S. Dept. of Education Informance Hosted by Secretary Cardona

April 19, 2022 Update: Watch the live informance below beginning at 1 pm EDT, presented in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education

Washington, DC – The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education will present a peer-to-peer jazz informance on April 19, featuring the Peer-to-Peer Jazz Quintet. Hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, the “informance” – a combination of performance and educational information – will be presented by five of the Baltimore/Washington, DC area’s most gifted high school music students along with 14-time GRAMMY Award-winning jazz legend Herbie Hancock, internationally acclaimed jazz trumpet recording artist Sean Jones, and renowned jazz educator Dr. JB Dyas. The informance will be livestreamed from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) headquarters building in Washington, D.C., beginning at 1 pm EDT, to hundreds of school districts in the United States and around the world, and streamed on ED’s YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts, as well as the Institute’s website, hancockinstitute.org. It will not only focus on what jazz is and why it’s important to America, but also on leadership in the time of a crisis such as a pandemic and how the principles of jazz – collaborating, improvising, not seeking perfection, playing off each other’s strengths, perseverance and the vital importance of really listening to one another – can enlighten leaders as they navigate through a crisis, uncertainty and challenging times.

“We’ve found that young people often learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of those is jazz,” said Hancock, Chairman of the Institute, NEA Jazz Master, and Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “And when you hear how accomplished these musicians are at such a young age, you know their peers are going to listen.”

Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the students will talk to their like-age audience across the country and around the world about the importance of finding a passion for something early in life, working hard at it, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this important message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.

“We’ve found that young people often learn about certain things better from kids their same age, and one of those is jazz. And when you hear how accomplished these musicians are at such a young age, you know their peers are going to listen.”

Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock

The members of the Quintet include alto saxophonists Ebban Dorsey and Quinn Rehkemper from the Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA); tenor saxophonist Elijah Woodward and pianist Jose Andre Montano from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts; and drummer Jillian Upshaw from Woodrow Wilson High School. “What an honor to have the opportunity to perform with Mr. Hancock and Mr. Jones,” said Dorsey, who was featured on last year’s ED jazz informance which was presented virtually due to the pandemic (and has now had over a half million views on YouTube). “Mr. Hancock’s immense musical contributions have truly been profound, and Mr. Jones is one of the best jazz trumpet players you’ll ever hear!”

Rounding out the group will be BSA’s director of jazz studies, Ed Hrybyk on bass, with a special cameo appearance by Secretary Cardona on Latin percussion. “Music is a big part of my family’s life,” said the Secretary. “There’s a level of listening, interdependence and collaboration that goes on in jazz that we can all learn from.”

While the informance at the US Department of Education can only accommodate a limited, invited audience of selected students, teachers, principals, and ED officials, it will be streamed nationally and internationally so all may partake. “Jazz mirrors life … in improvisation and in connecting with people around you,” added the Secretary. “Music and the arts give us a window into different cultures – and cultures are an expression of many kinds of music. It’s been said that music is the art that goes from the ears straight to the heart. As we continue to recover from the pandemic, music is also a wonderful tool for empathy and healing.”

The Herbie Hancock Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Education Program has lead funding from the National Endowment of the Arts and United Airlines.

Download the full press release.

Watch the 2022 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert

The National Endowment for the Arts will honor the 2022 NEA Jazz Masters —Stanley ClarkeDonald Harrison, Jr.Billy Hart, and Cassandra Wilson—and kick off a year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of the program with a concert on Thursday, March 31, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET. Held in collaboration with SFJAZZ at the SFJAZZ Center’s Robert N. Miner Auditorium (201 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA), the concert is free and open to the public and also available through a live webcast and radio broadcast.

Hosted by Institute Advisory Board member Dianne Reeves, the 2022 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert will feature performances by 2022 honorees Stanley Clarke, Billy Hart, and Donald Harrison, Jr. as well as an array of jazz luminaries, including Institute of Jazz Performance Class of 2003 graduate Gretchen Parlato and former Peer-to-Peer All-Star Jeremiah Collier.

Tune in right here on March 31 to watch the free live stream.

Remembering Madeleine Albright

The Institute is saddened to learn of the passing of Madeleine Albright, a towering figure in global diplomacy as well as a devoted supporter of jazz and the Institute’s educational mission.

Secretary Albright with Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock and students in the Institute’s Jazz in the Classroom program at Miami’s New World School of the Arts.

Albright was active with the Institute for over 25 years, beginning with her tenure as United States Secretary of State, when she was instrumental in bringing Institute artists to serve a key role at the 1998 Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, and hosted receptions for the Institute’s annual Competition in Washington, D.C. She subsequently became a close friend and generous supporter of the Institute.

Albright believed fervently in the power of the arts, most especially jazz, to forge bonds that transcend political, national, linguistic, religious or ethnic barriers, and to bolster the foundations of democracy. This conviction led her to share her talents frequently with the Institute, from serving as a mentor and advisor on cultural diplomacy, to lending her talents on the drums for Institute events from time to time. She was instrumental in helping the Institute expand its global impact through initiatives including U.S. State Department Tours and International Jazz Day.

Madame Secretary, you will be greatly missed.

RIP

International Jazz Day 2022 Registration Now Open on jazzday.com

Registration is now open for International Jazz Day 2022, with participants invited to add their April 30 events to the official calendar and map on jazzday.com. Registration is a great way for those celebrating International Jazz Day to broadcast their support for the initiative, and to ensure that each participating community is represented as part of the worldwide festivities.

Registrations can be submitted for free by completing the form at jazzday.com/register.

All those seeking to commemorate International Jazz Day 2022 on April 30 are welcome to submit registrations. Each year, an array of programming takes place in more than 190 countries on all seven continents. Events span performances, education programs, community service initiatives and more. Radio and television stations around the world get involved, spreading the positive message of International Jazz Day to their audiences, as do schools and universities, jazz clubs, libraries, music appreciation societies, UN and UNESCO clubs and local, regional and national governments, among numerous other partners.

A list of events registered to date can be found here, with the interactive map of events accessible on the jazzday.com homepage.

New in 2022, registrants whose International Jazz Day programs take place across multiple venues can have those venues reflected on the map without submitting additional event registrations, up to three venues per registration. Poster images can also now be uploaded directly to jazzday.com via the registration form. Most notably, each registered event receives a dedicated page on jazzday.com to showcase background about the event, social media links, and even photo and video content.

Any questions regarding registration can be addressed to the International Jazz Day Outreach Team.

About International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day is the world’s largest celebration of jazz. Each year on April 30, International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. On International Jazz Day, this special art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; fostering gender equality; and promoting freedom of expression. In December 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally welcomed the decision by the UNESCO General Conference to proclaim April 30 as International Jazz Day. The United Nations and UNESCO now both recognize International Jazz Day on their official calendars.