25.04.2019 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

“Jazz speaks for life” - International Jazz Day

Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion International Jazz Day, 30 April 2019

For this eighth International Jazz Day, let us recall the inspiring words of the great Dr Martin Luther King Jr, speaking of the crucial role of jazz in creating a sense of identity among African Americans and countless others around the world. “Jazz speaks for life”, he said, at the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1964. “When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument.”

Jazz is a flourishing of beauty born of oppression – the music of improvisation and collective creation. Freedom and openness lie at its core, allowing it to be embraced by cultures all over the world, enriched by each with their own musical history and particular notes. It gives voice to the struggles and aspirations of millions of people, and stands as an incredible symbol of free expression and human dignity. It is a universal language of peace at a time of increasing discord and division.




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